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The deciding game of the NBA Finals on Tuesday delivered the biggest audience for the league in two years. ABC scored a big win in primetime, even though this year’s series was well below pre-pandemic levels.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ 105-98 win over the Phoenix Suns — giving the franchise its first NBA title in 50 years — averaged 12.52 million viewers for ABC, the highest of the series by more than 2 million viewers and a 51 percent improvement over the 8.29 million who watched last year’s final game. It was the most watched NBA game since the end of the 2019 Finals. ABC’s broadcast also scored a 4.27 rating among adults 18-49, the biggest single-network rating in the key ad demographic since Super Bowl Sunday.
The six-game series averaged about 9.89 million viewers, a 33 percent jump over last year’s pandemic-altered Finals. The league reclaimed some viewers after last season’s all-time lows, but the 2021 Finals (played a month after their usual June berth) still finished well behind pre-pandemic series. It was down by about 35 percent from the 15.14 million viewer average for the 2019 Finals. Tuesday’s audience was the fourth-lowest for a deciding game since 1998, topping last year (8.29 million), 2007 (9.91 million) and 2003 (11.57 million).
NBC’s America’s Got Talent finished a distant second in Tuesday’s primetime rankings. The final show before its Olympic break drew 6.8 million viewers and a 0.85 rating in the 18-49 demo to lead all other primetime programming aside from the NBA Finals.
Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.
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