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LeBron James helps push ESPN’s NBA Playoffs ratings up 31 percent

  • Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals tied ESPN’s all-time basketball ratings record with an average rating of 9.1 among metered market households
  • The Cavs’ dramatic win peaked at 17.5 million, boosting the network’s overall playoff ratings to a 3.8 – a dramatic 31 percent improvement from 2017 
  • TNT’s broadcast of the Western Conference Finals was up 33 percent from a year ago heading into Golden State’s Game 7 win over Houston on Monday night
  • Of the ten most-watched NBA games since 2002, James has played in eight of them, and 14 of the top 19, according to Sports Media Watch 
  • Game 1 of the NBA Finals will tip-off on Thursday night on ABC  

LeBron ‘King’ James’s nickname is not only applicable on the court – where he recently carried his Cleveland Cavaliers to a seven-game Eastern Conference Finals victory over the Boston Celtics – but the 33-year-old NBA superstar’s reign atop the Nielsen ratings remains intact as well.

ESPN’s coverage of Game 7 of the ECF on Saturday night tied the network’s all-time basketball ratings record, with an average rating of 9.1 among metered market households. Not only was that better than anything else on television, but it boosted ESPN’s overall playoff ratings to a 3.8 – a dramatic 31 percent improvement from 2017.

Of the ten most-watched NBA games since 2002, LeBron James has played in eight of them. ABC will now broadcast its fourth-straight Cleveland Cavaliers-Golden State Warriors finals

The Cavaliers’ dramatic road win peaked at 17.5 million viewers between 10:30 and 11pm ET, making it the third-highest NBA audience since 2002, according to Sports Media Watch. What’s more, the game outdrew both of the NCAA’s Final Four contests and Game 7 of the American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and Houston Astros last October.

Commentators Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mike Breen (from left to right) smile ahead of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. ESPN's overall playoff ratings are up 31 percent from 2017 

Commentators Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mike Breen (from left to right) smile ahead of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. ESPN’s overall playoff ratings are up 31 percent from 2017 

The network’s impressive ECF has been matched by TNT’s broadcast of the Western Conference Finals, which was up 33 percent from a year ago heading into Golden State’s Game 7 win over Houston on Monday night.

The series is the most-watched playoff since 2012, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The NBA can now enjoy a fourth consecutive Cavs-Warriors Finals. According to Sports Media Watch, the ratings have dipped slightly over the first three series (11.6 in 2015, 11.4 in 2016 and then 11.3 in 2017) but the overall viewership increased.

Most importantly, the game’s biggest star remains in the spotlight.

Of the ten most-watched NBA games since 2002, James has played in eight of them, and 14 of the top 19, according to Sports Media Watch.

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, right, hugs teammate Stephen Curry, left, after they defeated the Houston Rockets in Game 7

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, right, hugs teammate Stephen Curry, left, after they defeated the Houston Rockets in Game 7

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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