With the Conference Finals in both the East and West wrapping up, ESPN and Turner are in two different boats regarding ratings and viewership for each series.
ESPN is in the dumps with the East. Game 5 of Raptors-Cavs drew 5.5 million viewers on Wednesday night, the least-watched ECF Game 5 since 2004 and the least-watched Game 5 in either the East or the West since 2007. Every game in the series has been down from ESPN’s Warriors-Rockets WCF last year, and they’ve all hit multiple year lows as well.
Then there’s the West on Turner, where things are looking much better. Game 5 of Warriors-Thunder rolled to a 7.6 overnight on Thursday, the highest Game 5 overnight ever for Turner and up 44% from 2014’s Game 5 overnight. This year’s WCF Game 5 was also up 12% from the overnight on ESPN for the 2015 WCF, while the series as a whole is also up 44% from the 2014 WCF, averaging a 6.6 rating.
Sports Media Watch also notes that Thursday’s Game 5 is the sixth-highest overnight ever for an NBA game on cable, trailing five Miami Heat games from their 2011-13 run.
We’ll see what the holiday weekend will end up doing to the final games of each series. Turner has to be praying for a Game 7.