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How Does NBA’s Conference Finals Viewership Stack Up Against the NFL, MLB And NHL?

LeBron James helped fuel viewership for the NBA Conference Finals. But how does the NBA compare to the other Big-4 when it comes to Conference Finals? (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Think people are tired of watching LeBron James and the Cavaliers? Think they’re bored of watching Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors?

Guess again.

The NBA Conference Finals that saw the Cavs go up against the Boston Celtics and the Warriors take on the Houston Rockets was the most-watched Conference Finals in six years, drawing an average of 9,015,000 viewers across TNT, ABC, and ESPN. Those numbers were up +40% compared to last year’s Conference Finals that pulled an average of 6,417,000, according to Nielsen.

For the NBA, getting to Game 7s in both the Western and Eastern Conference largely fueled the numbers.

TNT had the second most-viewed NBA game in the history of cable television for the Golden State Warriors’ victory in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. The game which saw the Warriors beat the Rockets 101-92 averaging 14.8 million viewers.

ESPN had its second-largest NBA audience ever for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 87-79 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, averaging 13.3 million viewers.

But how do the numbers stack up against the other North American Big-4 sports leagues? How does the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League stack up?




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