TV Ratings: NBA Finals Climb to 20 Million Viewers for Game 3

The series is up 10 percent from the previous Warriors-Cavaliers face-off in 2016.
Kyle Terada - Pool/Getty Images

The tide very clearly in the Warriors' favor, ABC's coverage of the NBA Finals still managed to outpace 2016 on Wednesday night.

With a tight 118-113 win for Golden State over Cleveland, the Game 3 telecast averaged 20 million viewers and a 7.2 rating among adults 18-49 — the best showings, by both measurements, for a NBA game this post-season. 

That's after an overnight 13.4 rating among households — an impressive 14 percent boost from last year's Game 3. (The game peaked near the end, with a 15.6 rating between 11:30 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. ET.)

The first Finals meeting between the Warriors and the Cavaliers was down from the previous two years, but subsequent games have improved — and the series is now pacing 10 percent above 2017, which also came down to the same two teams. With the three-game average also up 6 percent from last year, the Finals are pacing as ABC's best in almost 20 years.

Game 3 of 2016 ultimately averaged 16.5 million viewers and a 6.1 rating among adults 18-49, a low for that series.

Counterprogramming was slim. NBC had even episodes of Little Big Shots (1.1 adults) and The Carmichael Show (0.7 adults), while Fox saw dips for MasterChef (0.9 adults) and The F Word (0.8 adults).

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