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NBA Finals audience lowest of four Golden State-Cleveland meetings

With the Golden State Warriors defending their crown in a four-game sweep, Walt Disney Co.'s ABC (US) saw its audience for the NBA Finals recede.

ABC averaged a 10.0 household rating and 17.7 million TV-only viewers over the four games, according to data from Nielsen Holdings. That represented 12% and 13% declines from the 11.3 rating and 20.4 million viewers for the five-game championship series in 2017, in which Golden State also defeated Cleveland. The teams met for a fourth consecutive time in the championship round, a first among the big four sports in North America, including the NBA, NFL, MLB and the NHL.

The final game of the NBA season on June 8 recorded a 9.3 rating and 16.2 million viewers, decreases of 13% and 15% from a 10.7 rating and 19.1 million viewers for the corresponding game of the 2017 Finals, which was won by Cleveland.

While the 2018 edition posted the lowest numbers of the four Finals meetings between the clubs, ESPN pointed out that the delivery for the four telecasts this year was the third highest for all-league championship series since 2001.

Moreover, "Golden State-Cleveland IV" ranked 11% above the historical Finals marks on ABC and was up 90% from the last time there was a sweep — San Antonio's win over Cleveland in 2007, which ranks as the lowest performing Finals, averaging a 6.2 rating and 9.3 million viewers.