The NBA Finals have been universally derided as dull and lopsided, but that’s not stopping millions of fans from tuning in.
Game 3 of the Cavs-Warriors series Wednesday delivered a 13.4 metered market rating on ABC, up 14 percent from Game 3 of the 2016. According to ESPN, the Finals are averaging a 12.8 metered market rating through three games, which is up slightly from last year.
Though Golden State and Cleveland made for an extremely enticing Finals matchup heading into the series, it’s a bit surprising to see the ratings holding strong given how the games have gone. With an anticlimactic first three rounds of playoffs as a lead-in, Games 1 and 2 of the Finals were huge Warriors blowouts, essentially over by the fourth quarter. Still, the games drew large enough audiences to make the Finals the most watched through two games since 1998.
Entering Game 3, it would have been fair to assume a hefty dip in viewership, given how lopsided the series had been to that point. But as it turned out, the game was much closer than the first two had been, with Golden State prevailing in the finals minute. Though we can’t make any definitive proclamations without full ratings data, it seems from the metered market rating that it delivered a hefty audience.
Wednesday’s game also set streaming records for a Game 3, according to ESPN, with nearly 2 million unique viewers.
The Warriors and Cavs will play again Friday, with Golden State looking for a sweep. America apparently isn’t bored of the Finals just yet.
UPDATE: Game 3 viewership numbers are in, and they’re impressive—up substantially from Game 3 in 2015 and 2016.
20.048 million (TV-only) for Game 3 of Warriors-Cavs #NBAFinals on ABC
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) June 8, 2017
2016 Game 3 viewership: 16.5 million
2015 Game 3 viewership: 18.7 million https://t.co/ujRKkl5Rk3
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) June 8, 2017