Last night’s stunning victory by the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors over the Toronto Raptors not only prolonged the 2019 NBA finals into a sixth game, but also delivered a ratings boost for ABC on the last couple of victories for the Canadian team.
Game 5, which ended on the incredibly tight score of 106-105 in favor of the Warriors, scored a 5.2 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, and 14.3 million total viewers. Those figures are up a substantial 36.5% on Game 4’s rating of 3.3, and 32.5% on the total viewership for Game 4 which stood at 9.65 million total viewers. Game 5 produced by far the highest rating for the 2019 finals to date, after Game 1 scored a 3.9, Game 2 a 3.8, and Game 3 a 3.7.
Monday’s game also posted a 13.4 overnight household rating in metered markets, up 37% from Game 4. This tally makes it the fifth-highest rated Game 5 of an NBA finals on ABC (it sits behind three Warriors-Cavaliers Game 5’s from 2017, 2016 and 2015, as well as the Pistons-Lakers Game 5 from 2004).
The two teams will now return to Oracle Arena in Oakland for Game 6 this Thursday, with the Warriors needing yet another win to stay alive. All eyes will be on Kevin Durant to see whether he will feature more prominently, after the Warriors star missed the last two games due to injury and only played briefly last night.
Ratings for this NBA finals have been down on previous years, partly due to the absence of LeBron James (arguably the biggest ratings attraction in the NBA), and partly due to the fact that one of the two teams competing is from Canada. Unsurprisingly, these finals games have been smashing records for NBA viewership North of the border. Game 2 delivered a combined average audience of 4.3 million viewers in Canada (across its simulcast coverage on TSN, CTV2 and RDS), making it the country’s most-watched NBA game ever.
ABC easily came out on top in the overall ratings for Monday with a 4.4 average, compared to 0.6 for Fox, 0.6 for NBC and 0.4 for CBS (the latter two aired mainly re-runs).