NEW YORK -- The NBA Conference Finals was the most-watched in six years and the second most-watched in 16 years with combined viewership across all networks (TNT, ESPN, ABC) in the United States up 40 percent vs. last year, averaging nine million viewers (9,015,000 vs. 6,417,000), according to Nielsen.
Additionally, the Conference Finals featured two of the most-watched NBA games in history for both Turner and ESPN. TNT had the second most-viewed NBA game in the history of cable television for the Golden State Warriors’ victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, averaging 14.8 million viewers.
ESPN had its second-largest NBA audience ever for the Cleveland Cavaliers victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, averaging 13.3 million viewers.
Overall, the NBA Playoffs were the most viewed since 2011-12, with average playoff viewership across all networks (ABC, TNT, ESPN, NBA TV, ESPN2) in the U.S., up 18 percent, averaging 4.6 million viewers (4,606,000 vs. 3,913,000). During the playoffs, NBA games won the night on cable nearly 92 percent of the time (34 of 37 nights).
ABC’s exclusive coverage of the 2018 NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV tips off Thursday, May 31, when the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors meet the Cleveland Cavaliers in The Finals for a fourth consecutive time for the chance to win The Larry O’Brien Trophy.