ESPN’s Sunday night presentation for Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics was ESPN’s highest-rated NBA game ever.
The Cavaliers’ series clinching victory in Boston earned a 9.1 metered market rating and peaked with a 12.0 from 10:45 – 11 pm ET making it the highest-rated 15 minutes of an NBA Game on ESPN according to the network. The 9.1 average for the entire game matched ESPN’s Game 7 coverage from the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals which also featured LeBron James against the Boston Celtics, although James was on the Miami Heat at that time.
While ESPN matched their highest metered market rating, Sunday night’s Game 7 was their second largest NBA audience ever, averaging 13,305,000 viewers. Between 10:30 – 11 pm ET the broadcast peaked with 17,463,000 viewers, ESPN’s largest peak audience ever for an NBA game. Although it’s average audience fell 41,000 viewers short of topping the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals Game 7 broadcast, once all streaming and out-of-home viewership is included to provide their Total Audience Measurement, Sunday night’s coverage is expected to be ESPN’s most-watched NBA game ever.
The 2018 NBA Finals featuring the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers for the fourth consecutive season will tip off Thursday, May 31 at 9 pm ET on ABC.