National Basketball Association
Cavs-Warriors most watched Finals since 1998
National Basketball Association

Cavs-Warriors most watched Finals since 1998

Published Jun. 18, 2015 10:04 a.m. ET

by Josh Poloha

The 2015 NBA Finals matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors was the most watched Finals series since 1998, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell. The 1998 Finals were the last to feature Michael Jordan, as the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz on Jordan’s famous game-winner over Bryon Russell.

Through Game 4 and Game 5Cavs-Warriors was the highest-rated and most-watched Finals in ABC history, and after Game 6, that trend remained the same.

Bringing in 19.9 million viewers on ABC, the Cavs and Warriors broke the post-Jordan record of 18.9 million viewers, previously held by the 2001 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers.


The series finale, Game 6, brought in 23.3 million viewers, the most to watch a Finals game since Game 7 of the 2013 Finals, which the Miami Heat won over the San Antonio Spurs.

One thing remains obvious with all of this — people want to watch LeBron James. The 2015 Finals also featured NBA MVP Stephen Curry and the 67-win Warriors, along with two bases hungry for a championship.

To compare James and Jordan, as people often like to do, James’ six Finals appearances have averaged 16.1 million viewers, while Jordan’s six Finals averaged 25.2 million viewers (albeit in a time with fewer television and entertainment options).

The Cavaliers’ first Finals appearance in 2007 averaged just 9.3 million viewers, making it the least watched championship series in TV history. The 2015 Finals were the complete opposite in terms of viewership, as more than double the amount of people watched them try and bring a title to Cleveland for the first time since 1964.

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