The first two games of the 2017 NBA Finals put up the highest television ratings since Michael Jordan was winning his last title with the Chicago Bulls back in 1998.
Game 3 in Cleveland then topped each of the first two games and is among the highest-rated games of the modern era.
In fact, it was the second-highest rated Game 3 in NBA Finals history. That dates all the way back to 1991. We are talking the first of Chicago’s six titles under Jordan, which came against Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Needless to say, any thought given to the idea that a third straight Finals between the Cavaliers and Warriors would lack interest can be thrown completely out the window.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported on Saturday that the first four games of the Finals represent the highest ratings in the NBA since that Bulls-Jazz series with an average viewership of nearly 19.4 million.
Cleveland remained alive in the series with a 137-116 blowout win over the Warriors Friday night. Despite the 21-point game, Friday’s ratings were right on par with the first three games, all Warriors wins.
What’s intriguing about this is the fact that ratings didn’t take a drop on a Friday night.
The NBA has done what it can to avoid airing the Finals on Friday or Saturday night, going as far to push Game 2 of this series to last Sunday with two days off in between games.
We’ve focused in the past on why interest remains high for these Finals. The star power. The rivalry. LeBron James looking to lead another historic comeback against a team in the Warriors that might very well be in the midst of a dynasty.