NBA Finals are win-win for ABC
The largest viewership for Game 3 of the NBA Finals since 1988 and a Sunday game show strategy that bested the Tony Awards has put ABC in the prime-time winner’s circle for the second week in a row.
The back-to-back ratings victories were the network’s first since it won three consecutive weeks during the 2016 NBA Finals. ABC’s only win between the 2016 and 2017 finals was the week it aired the Oscars.
The network averaged 6.76 million viewers for its prime-time programming between June 5 and Sunday, according to live-plus-sameday figures released by Nielsen on Tuesday, followed by NBC with 5.5 million, CBS with 4.81 million and Fox with 2.07 million.
The Golden State Warriors’ 118-113 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on June 7 was the week’s mostwatched prime-time program, averaging 20.1 million viewers. Cleveland’s 137-116 victory in Game 4 on Friday was second for the week, averaging 19.01 million viewers. The finals’ four-game average of 19.37 million was the largest since the 1998 series between the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz, Michael Jordan’s last finals appearance, which aired on NBC.
Each element of ABC’s Sunday game show block — “Celebrity Family Feud,” “Steve Harvey’s Thunderdome” and “The $100,000 Pyramid” — beat CBS’ coverage of the 71st Tony Awards in their time slots.
Viewership for the Tonys dropped 30.6% from last year to 6.05 million viewers, 13th for the week, nine slots lower than a year ago. The 2016 ceremony, boosted by national interest in the fate of “Hamilton,” averaged 8.72 million viewers, its most since 2001.
The Tony Awards also trailed NBC’s coverage of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, which averaged 6.99 million viewers, eighth for the week, opposite the Tony Awards in the Eastern and Central time zones. Viewership was up 29.2% from the 5.41 million average from Game 6 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. are the combined rankings for national prime-time network and cable television from June 5-11 as compiled by Nielsen. They are based on the average number of people who watched a program from start to finish during its scheduled telecast or on a playback device the same day. Nielsen estimates there are 289 million potential viewers in the U.S. ages 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.
GAME 3 of NBA Finals was week’s most-watched prime-time program, averaging 20.1 million viewers.