Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

One extra game didn’t help the NBA’s Western Conference Finals all that much compared to the four-game Eastern Conference Finals.

The Dallas Mavericks’ five-game series win over the Minnesota Timberwolves averaged 6.74 million viewers on TNT and truTV, down 15% from the Nuggets’ sweep of the Lakers on ESPN last year and 9% from the Heat’s seven-game victory over the Celtics on TNT.

In what could be TNT’s final broadcast of a Western Conference Finals ever, viewership peaked at 7.25 million for Game 3 on Sunday. Game 1 averaged 7.02 million viewers, and Game 2 drew 6.27 million. Game 4 averaged 6.87 million, while viewership hit a series-low for Game 5 with 6.26 million viewers.

As we discussed last week, viewership was also down for the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics’ sweep of the Pacers averaged 6.29 million viewers on ABC and ESPN, peaking at 6.628 million viewers for Game 4.

Heading into the Celtics-Mavericks NBA Finals, the NBA Playoffs are averaging 4.10 million viewers, an 11% drop from last year and a 2% drop from 2022. The disastrous turn of events in the Conference Finals (one more game played than the minimum) doomed any possible gains for the league’s playoffs this season. The playoffs as a whole were also down 11% from last season after the Conference Semifinals but were up 2% from 2022.

Last year, Denver’s five-game NBA Finals victory over Miami averaged 11.64 million viewers, while in 2022, Golden State’s seven-game series victory over Boston averaged 12.4 million viewers.

The 2024 NBA Finals begins on Thursday, June 6, with all games airing on ABC.

[Data via Sports Media Watch]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.