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.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.