TV Ratings: NBA Finals Jump As Warriors Hold Off Elimination

ABC's coverage of Monday's game is easily the highest-rated of the Raptors-Warriors series so far.
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Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors

A dramatic, series-extending game in the NBA Finals gave ABC its best ratings of the series so far — by a wide margin.

The Golden State Warriors' 106-105 win over the Toronto Raptors Monday night scored a 13.4 household rating in metered markets, a 34 percent improvement over the average for the first four games. Audiences tend to spike for potential series-ending games, and that was the case Monday with the Raptors leading the series three games to one. Game 6 is set for Thursday.

Monday's broadcast drew the fifth-highest preliminary rating for a Game 5 of the NBA Finals since ABC began airing the series in 2003. It trails the fifth game in 2004 (Pistons-Lakers, 15.4 rating) and three straight Warriors-Cavaliers matchups in 2017 (16.0), 2016 (14.2) and 2015 (14.2). The Warriors swept last year's Finals, so there wasn't a fifth game.

In the final ratings, the game delivered 18.22 million viewers, 36 percent above the average for the prior four games (13.35 million).

The series as a whole remains down year to year, currently off 12 percent in metered markets (10.7 versus 12.2 in 2018) and 18 percent in viewers (14.33 million vs. 17.56 million a year ago). That gap could narrow some if Thursday's game stays on the high side.

Monday's other original programs were on the low side opposite the NBA game. Fox's Beat Shazam and So You Think You Can Dance each scored 0.6 ratings among adults 18-49, both down 0.1 from last week; each show lost about 200,000 viewers week to week as well..

Dateline drew a 0.6 in adults 18-49 and 3.3 million viewers on NBC following a repeat of American Ninja Warrior (also 0.6).

ABC averaged a 4.4 rating among adults 18-49 in primetime, which will likely adjust up in the finals. NBC and Fox tied at 0.6, and CBS came in at 0.4 with a night of reruns. The CW drew a 0.1 with a slate of repeats.

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June 12, 8:15 a.m. Updated with final NBA ratings.