The six-game series — where the Raptors dethroned the Warriors, four games to two — averaged 14.3 million viewers, down from 17.6 million last year.
For the NBA Finals, ABC scored the best ratings for an NBA game since 1998, and for the NBA Finals series overall, pulled in nearly $280 million in national TV advertising. The entire Cleveland Cavaliers-Golden State Warriors series pulled in $279.3 million — some 120 brands, with 223 commercials with 594 national airings, according to iSpot.tv.
Barring some sort of audience-dispersing catastrophe, Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals should at least match last year’s opener, an overtime thriller that averaged 17.8 million viewers and a 10.6 household rating. That level of exposure doesn’t come cheap; according to media buyers with skin in the game, the going rate for a 30-second slice of airtime in the best-of-seven series is north of $500,000 a pop.
One of the most thrilling NBA Finals in history paid off big dividends for ABC and its advertisers, as the Cavs-Warriors showdown delivered the highest pro hoops ratings since the network secured the rights to the championship back in 2002. According to iSpot.tv estimates, the network generated nearly a quarter-billion dollars in ad sales revenue ($223.9 million) over the course of the six-game series.
ABC might not often get the chance to air sports — but on the rare occasion it boasts an athletic event, at least it’s a huge one. And the current NBA Finals are sweeter than usual. After five games, the battle between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors averaged 25% more viewers than the 2014 Finals.
Game 4 posts a 13.9 metered-market household rating, best in over a decade. Series is the highest-rated ever on ABC to this point with at least two more games to play.
The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation aired a 60-second ad opposing the name of the NFL team in seven major markets during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on ABC.
The Dallas Mavericks took a 3-2 lead in the NBA finals last night, giving ABC a big lead over the competition as it more than doubled No. 2 Fox’s rating. Dallas’ 112-103 victory averaged a 6.3 adults 18-49 rating from 9 to 11 p.m., up 17% over a 5.4 for last year’s game five between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.
With close games and popular players, this year’s Miami Heat-Dallas Mavericks NBA finals on ABC are on pace to be the highest rated since 2004, outpacing even last year’s Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics matchup. Through four games, the series is averaging 15.54 million total viewers, according to Nielsen, up 20,000 over last year. Among adults 18-49, the series is averaging a 6.4 rating, up 0.1 from last year.
Another close game between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks boosted ABC to No. 1 in primetime. The Heat took a 2-1 series lead with last night’s 88-86 victory, which produced the second-best game three ratings in the past seven years. The contest averaged an 11.1 household rating, according to Nielsen metered-market ratings, trailing last year’s game three between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics by 0.4 ratings points.
The Dallas Mavericks tied up the NBA finals 1-1 last night after a dramatic rally from 15 points down in the fourth quarter, boosting ABC to an easy Thursday night victory. The game averaged a 10.5 metered-market household rating, down from a 10.9 for last year’s game two between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. But it was the second-highest-rated game two in the past seven years, behind only last year’s contest.
No Kobe? No Lakers? No problem. Despite nearly every media outlet dooming the ratings performance of the NBA playoffs going forward now that the defending champs have been eliminated, media buyers believe that there is still plenty of player star power left on other teams to draw big audiences. LeBron James, anyone?