Despite a pair of blowouts, Walt Disney Co.'s ABC (US) has registered the most-watched NBA Finals in almost 20 years with its coverage of the Golden State Warriors-Cleveland Cavaliers matchup.
Through the first two games in which Golden State has taken a 2-0 lead over the defending champions, ABC has averaged a total live audience — linear TV, plus streaming — of 19.6 million viewers, according to Fast Nationals data from Nielsen Holdings. Those numbers are up 5% from 18.6 million for the first two contests a year ago, and represent the most for the initial two contests of the NBA Finals since Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls won the last of their six titles in 1998.
The June 4 contest, in which the Warriors began to pull away midway through the third quarter en route to a 132-113 drubbing, scored a total live audience of 20.1 million viewers, a 13% jump from 17.8 million last year, to stand as the most-watched Game 2 of the NBA Finals since 1998.
Game 3 last year garnered 16.5 million viewers.
The clubs are squaring off for a third year in a row in the championship round, the first time that has occurred in NBA history.