There’s something about a Game 7 that will attract an audience. And when it involves LeBron James, the interest is high. For ESPN, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics matched its highest-rated NBA game ever on the Worldwide Leader. The game registered a 9.1 overnight rating matching Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat (with LeBron) and the Celtics.
The game peaked with a 12.0 rating in the final quarter-hour of 10:45-11 p.m. ET.
ESPN says based on the overnights, Cavs-Celtics won the night not just on cable but across all of television. And in addition, Sunday’s Game 7 was the highest-rated game of the 2018 NBA Playoffs. For the entire Eastern Conference Finals, the series averaged a 6.3 overnight rating, which is up 37 percent from last year’s ECF on TNT between the same two teams.
The top five highest-rated local markets were was follows:
1. Cleveland — 27.6
2. Boston — 21.9
3. Columbus — 15.1
4. Providence — 14.4
5. New Orleans — 12.9
ESPN notes that the 21.9 Boston rating marked the highest-rated NBA Playoff game that’s been aired in the Boston market.
Overall, ESPN aired 19 NBA Playoff games this season and averaged a 3.8 overnight rating, up 31 percent from 2017.
There’s one more Conference Final game in 2018 and that will be Game 7 between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors on TNT. Based on the numbers from Sunday, TNT could expect a monster rating when all is said and done.