ESPN Draws Second-Largest Audience Ever for NBA Game on ESPN: 13,305,000 Viewers (Based on Fast Nationals from Nielsen)

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ESPN Draws Second-Largest Audience Ever for NBA Game on ESPN: 13,305,000 Viewers (Based on Fast Nationals from Nielsen)

Largest Peak Audience Ever for NBA Game on ESPN: 17,463,000 Viewers from 10:30-11 P.M. ET

2018 NBA Playoffs on ESPN (19 Games): Second-Most Watched Ever and Up 30 Percent from 2017

ESPN drew its second-largest NBA audience ever for the Cleveland Cavaliers victory over the Boston Celtics in Eastern Conference Finals Game 7. It averaged 13,305,000 viewers, peaking with 17,463,000 viewers from 10:30-11 p.m. ET. It is the largest peak audience ever for an NBA game on ESPN. The data is based on Fast Nationals from Nielsen. Once all streaming and out-of-home viewership is included, last night’s Game 7 is expected to be the most-watched NBA game ever on ESPN.

The audience is currently only 41,000 viewers behind 2012 Eastern Conference Finals Game 7 – the Miami Heat and LeBron James vs. the Boston Celtics.

Based on Fast Nationals from Nielsen, ESPN is expected to win the night across all of television for its coverage of NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 7. Last night’s telecast is now the most-watched game of the 2018 NBA Playoffs across networks.

The 2018 Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN averaged 8,449,000 viewers, up 34 percent from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, also a Cleveland vs. Boston series. It was up 29 percent from the 2017 Western Conference Finals – the Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs – on ESPN.

Overall, the 2018 NBA Playoffs on ESPN (19 games) averaged 5,101,000 viewers, up 30 percent from 2017. It is the second-most watched NBA Playoffs ever on ESPN (back to 2003).

The 2018 NBA Finals on ABC will tip off Thursday, May 31, at 9 p.m. ET. The Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James will visit either the Golden State Warriors or the Houston Rockets in Game 1.

Note: NBA Finals analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson will be available on a media conference call tomorrow (Tuesday) at 2 p.m. ET to discuss the event. Media members can call 866-548-4713 with the passcode 7186383.

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Ben Cafardo

I lead communications strategy and execution for ESPN’s NBA, MLB, FIBA and Little League World Series properties. I’m also a proud consumer of all things ESPN.
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