The once great Boston Celtics dynasty must be feeling pretty restoration right about now after last night’s 116-100 win over the Golden State Warriors in the Puritan City in Game 3 of the 2022 NBA Finals. However, when it comes to viewership, the league itself probably is a little meh.
Pulling in an audience of 11.5 million on ABC according to Nielsen, the Jimmy Kimmel bookend b-ball battle is up, but down and also steady – just like its two immediate predecessors.
With a closing minutes foot injury to Warrior kingpin Steph Curry and some dominating skills on display from Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the wall of Celtics’ defense, Game 3 of the 2022 NBA Finals was up 28% from Game 3 of the pandemic protocol dominated 2021 NBA Finals of July 11 last year. However, harking back to the old normal of the 2019 NBA Finals, Wednesday’s Game 3 was down 12% in sets of eyeballs from the June 5 Toronto Raptor win of three years ago.
The 2019 series saw the Warriors square off against the ultimately championship winning Raptors. History aside for the lone Canadian NBA team’s big win, geography alone proved a hinderance to the league as it only had one US market to rely on. Even with the strong national following the multi-champion Warriors have, the 2019 NBA Finals slide to lows not seen since George W Bush was in the White House.
As the Celtics lock in a 2-1 lead going into tomorrow’s vital Game 4, this year’s Finals have stayed pretty steady unto themselves. Game 3 dipped around 4% from the June 5 Game 2 on the Disney-owned broadcast network. The Warriors and the Celtics taking a victory each in front of their respective hometown crowds, Game 2’s ABC viewership was almost exactly the same as that of the June 2 Game 1 audience.
Still, the NBA has once again proven a clear winner for ABC against its immediate rivals. Juicing the night with a President Joe Biden sit-down with Kimmel after the basketball game, the net smoked NBC, CBS, Fox and the CW in all categories and demographics on Wednesday.
And, like in sports, a win is always a win.
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