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NBA Finals TV ratings tick down from ’22; playoff viewership up

Jun 12, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver presents the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award to Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) as Jokic holds his daughter Ognjena Jokic after the Nuggets won the 2023 NBA Championship against the Miami Heat at Ball Arena. Looking on is Denver guard Jamal Murray (27) holds the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

ABC, ESPN and TNT averaged 5.47 million viewers per game during the NBA playoffs, the most-watched playoffs in five years, the networks announced Tuesday.

As for the NBA Finals, ABC brought in an average of 11.64 million viewers — a decrease from 2022, when a six-game series between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics averaged 12.402 million.

The 2023 Finals concluded Monday night with the Denver Nuggets defeating the Miami Heat in five games for their first NBA title in franchise history.

Game 5 averaged 13.084 million viewers, according to Nielsen. That was a four-year high, slightly beating out than last year’s NBA Finals Game 5 between the Warriors and Celtics (13.016 million).

Though Denver and Miami are large markets with teams in all four major North Americans sports leagues, some skeptics believed a Nuggets-Heat series would not garner as much interest as a potential matchup between the Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, historic rivals who each lost in their respective conference finals.

Denver led the nation with an average household rating of 21.55 for the length of the series, according to the blog Sports TV Ratings.

–Field Level Media