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Volume 26 No. 89
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NBA Finals Game 2 Down From '18; On Pace With Pre-Warriors Years

ABC drew a 10.2 overnight rating for the Warriors’ 109-104 win in Game 2 of the NBA Finals last night. That figure is off 20% from both last year’s Warriors-Cavaliers Game 2 (12.7) and Game 2 from the same matchup in ’17. Three years ago, Cavs-Warriors Game 2 drew an 11.8, and four years ago, during their first matchup in the Final, Warriors-Cavs drew a 12.9. The last time the Warriors were not in the Finals in ’14, Spurs-Heat Game 2 delivered a 10.2. The Heat-Spurs matchup in '13 drew a 10.2. Last night’s game will mark the 66th straight time an NBA Finals game will deliver ABC a primetime win among all networks. S.F.-Oakland-San Jose led all markets with a 29.1 local rating (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

NBA FINALS GAME 2 OVERNIGHT RATINGS TREND ON ABC
YEAR
MATCHUP
RATING
'19
Warriors-Raptors
10.2
'18
Warriors-Cavaliers
12.7
'17
Warriors-Cavaliers
12.7
'16
Cavaliers-Warriors
11.8
'15
Warriors-Cavaliers
12.9
'14
Spurs-Heat
10.2
'13
Heat-Spurs
10.2
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NBA Finals

DO THE DINOSAUR: Thursday's Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Sportsnet drew an average audience of 3.3 million viewers, making it the largest audience ever for an NBA game in Canada. Audience levels peaked at 4.1 million viewers at 11:35pm ET, just as the Raptors clinched the victory (Sportsnet). In Hamilton, Scott Radley wrote this could be the "first time ever the NBA final draws bigger TV numbers than the Stanley Cup final in Canada" (HAMILTON SPECTATOR, 6/1).

NUMBERS DON'T TELL EVERYTHING: The drop in Finals ratings in the U.S. is a continuation of a trend that ran through the regular season and earlier postseason rounds. However, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver believes the "biggest issue is that it isn't just the amount of time a young person watches the game." He said, "Increasingly, young people aren't subscribing to cable. Whether it’s NBA TV, TNT or ESPN, you have to get cable even to watch those services on an app. We’re sort of at a crossroads here. I'm sure over time, our distribution will change so for those people who want to just watch the NBA and don't want to elect to subscribe to a larger bundle of channels, they’ll still be able to watch our games so I feel great. The product has never looked better. The game on the floor, the interest has never been greater, we know that from social media support. That will work out over time” ("NBA GameTime Live at the NBA Finals," NBA TV, 6/2).

BACK IN THE FOLD? In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote Magic Johnson has "positioned himself for a return to television." Some view Johnson’s recent appearances on ESPN’s “First Take” and the network’s NBA Finals Special last Tuesday as an "audition." Johnson has "used a TV platform to keep him NBA-relevant." He also "seems to enjoy the give and take of the studio." In both appearances, he "went inside the Lakers situation providing his version of what went down." It was "all about how Johnson presented his case and how much he was willing to reveal." On both counts, he "gets high marks" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/2).