Finals draw best ratings since Jordan’s last title
Darren Rovell, ESPN.com Sports Business reporter
The 2015 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers is the most watched series since 1998, Michael Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls.
The series averaged 19.94 million viewers on ABC, breaking the post-Jordan Finals record of an average of 18.9 million viewers that was garnered by the 2001 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 2015 matchup featuring Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Cavs forward LeBron James was boosted by the viewership of Tuesday night’s Game 6 series finale, which scored 23,254,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. It was the most watched NBA Finals game since Game 7 of the 2013 Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.
The 2015 Finals averaged more than double the viewership of the 2007 Finals, James’ first championship series appearance. That showdown against the Spurs averaged 9.3 million viewers, the least watched championship series in TV history.
The six Finals series James has been in have averaged 16.1 million viewers, while the six Finals featuring Jordan averaged 25.2 million viewers. To be fair, Jordan’s games were played at a time when there were fewer options on television and no digital alternative.