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NBA finals viewership climbs 22% to 12.4m

ABC broadcast for Warriors’ series clinching, game six victory peaks at 16.82m.

20 June 2022 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Series is most-watched NBA finals since 2019
  • Broadcasts on ABC rank as six most-watched TV programmes for June 2022
  • Viewership still short of pre-pandemic levels

US viewership for the 2022 National Basketball Association (NBA) finals increased 22 per cent year-over-year (YoY), averaging 12.4 million viewers.

The figures from analytics firm Nielsen mean the series was the most-watched NBA finals in three years.

The Golden State Warriors’ victory in game six on 16th June generated an average of 13.99 million viewers on Disney-owned commercial network ABC and peaked with 16.82 million viewers. Game six viewership was 75 per cent higher than its closest competition on television.

The 2022 NBA finals also delivered the highest share for the event since 2017. One in five viewers watching television on game nights were tuned into the NBA finals on ABC.

In addition, the six NBA finals game broadcasts on ABC now rank as the six most-watched programmes on television for June 2022.

The series saw the Warriors beat the Boston Celtics to clinch their fourth NBA title in eight years and first since 2018.

This year’s figures remained short of pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, the finals averaged 15.14 million viewers.

Last year, ABC brought in an average of 12.52 million viewers for the Milwaukee Bucks series clinching, game six win over the Phoenix Suns on 20th July, a 51 per cent increase on the 2020 decider. Despite the increase, ABC still posted the fourth lowest ratings for an NBA finals decider since 1998.

The NBA also revealed that the second round of the playoffs on UK pay-TV network Sky saw average viewership growth of 58 per cent YoY, while average viewership growth for NBA Sundays games rose 42 per cent.

The Brooklyn Nets versus Celtics game on 17th April, which aired on the Sky Sports Arena channel, was the most-viewed game from the NBA playoffs in the UK since April 2019.

Subscribers for the NBA’s out-of-market League Pass streaming product were up three per cent YoY during the regular season.

European social media platforms also generated 226 million viewers during the regular season, up 23 per cent YoY. On the NBA’s official store, Steph Curry was the number one selling jersey in Europe.

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