Game 7 of the NBA Finals on ABC Sunday night averaged 30.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched NBA game since Game 6 of the 1998 Finals, in which Michael Jordan won his final championship for the Bulls over the Jazz. That game averaged 35.9 million viewers.
This time the star attraction was the Cavaliers’ LeBron James, who led his team to a 93-89 victory over the Warriors and the first championship in franchise history.
The game also was the highest-rated game since that 1998 finale based on household rating, averaging 15.7 percent of American homes.PhotosGame 7: Cavaliers 93, Warriors 89PhotosCleveland fans celebrate Cavs winning NBA titlePhotosWhat it looks like to lose Game 7 of the NBA Finals
Viewership peaked at 44.5 million from 10:30 to 10:45 p.m. Eastern Time.
Those are extraordinary figures for any sports event on American television other than football or the Olympics. No sports event other than football or the Olympics had surpassed 30 million viewers this decade until Sunday night.
Overall, the seven Finals games averaged 20.2 million viewers, also the best such figure since 1998.
ESPN said Game 7 was the most-watched NBA game on WatchESPN, generating 96.3 million total minutes streamed and 1.8 million unique viewers.
Cleveland led all markets with an average of 46.3 percent of homes watching Game 7, followed by San Francisco at 39.4. Columbus (30.1) was third and Miami (24.3) was fourth.
New York ranked 12th among the 56 markets measured with a 20.3 rating, an impressive number for the nation’s largest market.