Even though the five game series was mostly lopsided, Turner’s coverage of the Warriors-Mavericks Western Conference Finals drove the network to a four-year Conference Finals high.
Per a release from Turner, Golden State’s 4-1 victory averaged 6.7 million viewers, TNT’s best Conference Finals series since 2018 (when the Warriors’ seven game victory over the Rockets averaged 9.4 million viewers). Last year, Turner aired the Eastern Conference Finals, and Milwaukee’s six game victory over Atlanta averaged just 5.0 million viewers.
Turner’s playoff run as a whole is now over, and the company is pleased with its overall results. Over 42 broadcasts, Turner averaged 4.1 million viewers for its NBA playoff games. That’s up 11% from a year ago, and is the network’s most-watched playoff coverage since 2018.
The highs since 2018 make sense across the board. Playoff viewership in 2020 was a disaster for both the NBA and NHL due to the pandemic-enforced rescheduling, and only somewhat better last year with late starts to the season forcing the playoffs to begin later. As for 2019, that was the year of the Raptors, and Canadian teams don’t move the needle as much in the US.
Over on the Eastern Conference side, ESPN is pulling strong numbers for the Celtics-Heat series, touting “best since 2018” marks for both Game 1 and Game 3. That series is going to six (with a seventh possible) games, which should end up helping its overall viewership when all is said and done.