HOLLYWOOD (CNS) – ABC’s coverage of the last two games of the NBA Finals drew the league’s largest audiences since 2019, but the series averaged its smallest audience when held during its customary time since 2007.
The Golden State Warriors’ six-game victory over the Boston Celtics averaged 12.318 million viewers, the least for the NBA Finals during its customary time since 2007, when the San Antonio Spurs’ four-game sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers averaged 9.29 million, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen.
Viewership was up 24.5% from 9.891 million-average for the Milwaukee Bucks’ six-game victory over the Phoenix Suns in 2021, which was played July 6- 20, but down 18.6% from the 15.129-million average for the Toronto Raptors’ six- game victory over Golden State in the 2019 Finals which were played in the traditional month of June.
Viewership for nearly all programming is down compared to the past, mainly because of increased viewing of streaming programming, including programming originally airing on traditional television.
ABC has carried the NBA Finals since 2003.
The Warriors’ title-clinching 103-90 victory Thursday averaged 13.993 million viewers, the most for a prime-time program between June 13 and Sunday and most for an NBA game since Toronto’s series-clinching 114-110 victory June 13, 2019, averaged 18.763 million viewers.
Golden State’s 104-94 victory in Game 5 June 13 was second for the week, averaging 13.016, which had been the most for an NBA game since 2019.
The week’s most-watched non-sports program was NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which averaged 6.207 million viewers, third for the week. The only other program to average more than 5 million viewers was the 7 p.m. edition of CBS’ “60 Minutes” which averaged 5.583 for three previously broadcast segments that were updated for the pt-season edition.
The NBA Finals made ABC the most-watched network for the third consecutive week, averaging 4.96 million viewers. Outside of its two NBA Finals games, its most-watched program was Game 1 of hockey’s Stanley Cup Final, which averaged 4.2 million viewers, sixth for the week and first among Wednesday’s programming.
ABC, CBS and NBC all aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
Fox averaged 1.49 million viewers for its 15 hours, 57 minutes of prime-time programming. “MasterChef” was its most-watched program for the third consecutive week, averaging 2.36 million viewers to finish 52nd.
The CW averaged 410,000 viewers for its 14 hours of programming. Its most-watched program for the third consecutive week was the crime drama “Walker,” which averaged 879,000 viewers, 112th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
The 20 most-watched prime-time programs consisted of two NBA Finals games and two NBA Finals pregame shows on ABC; two Stanley Cup Final games and one pregame show on ABC; reruns of six CBS scripted programs; the rerun of CBS’ “The Price is Right 50th Anniversary Special”; two editions of the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes”; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; a rerun of ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos”; and two broadcasts of the Fox News Channel political talk show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Each of the five most-watched prime-time cable programs were editions of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” topped by the Tuesday edition which averaged 3.268 million viewers, 16th for the week.
Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network in prime-time for the third consecutive week, averaging 2.153 million viewers. MSNBC was second, averaging 1.374 million and HGTV third, averaging 927,000.
The cable top 20 consisted of 14 Fox News Channel political talk shows — five broadcasts each of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and four of “The Ingraham Angle”; four 60-minute segments of MSNBC’s coverage of the House Select Committee hearing; and two editions of the MSNBC news and opinion program “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
An episode of the Univision telenovela “Mi fortuna es amarte” was the most-watched Spanish-language program for the second consecutive week, with the Wednesday episode averaging 1.666 million viewers, 58th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 133rd consecutive week and 135th time in 136 weeks, averaging 1.06 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 940,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (450,000), Estrella TV (100,000) and Azteca America (40,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the 132nd time in 133 weeks and 184th time in 186 weeks, averaging 7.205 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 6.389 million for its Monday through Thursday newscasts.
The “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” was third, averaging 4.686 million.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were ABC’s coverage of Games 6 and 5 of the NBA Finals; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; the 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. editions of CBS’ “60 Minutes”; ABC’s coverage of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final; the rerun of CBS’ “The Price is Right 50th Anniversary Special”; ABC’s 24-minute NBA Finals Game 6 pregame show; a rerun of CBS’ “FBI”; and ABC’s coverage of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.