Disney-Owned ABC has announced that this year’s NBA Finals were the most-watched since 1998. The claim is based on Nielsen’s measurement of 20,840,000 average viewers (20,406,000 on television plus 434,000 live stream viewers) for the five-game series. Monday’s Game 5 averaged 25,003,000 average viewers- also a first since 1998.
This is all a bit surprising if you have been following the NBA Playoffs this year. A number of industry pundits were skeptical about the level of interest in this series given the lack of competitiveness of the playoffs leading up to the finals. It is also pretty good news for Disney, given their struggles over the past few years with the declining viewership of their sports programming.