While ABC’s U.S. ratings have been hampered by the absence of Toronto as a Nielsen-measured market, the NBA Finals have netted an advance when viewing from north of the border is factored in. Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors, in which the two-time defending champions, staved off elimination, scored an aggregate average audience in the United States and Canada of 25 million viewers. Through five games, the aggregate average audience of 19.3 million viewers was up 4% vs. the 2018 NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers averaged 18.5 million watchers over Golden State’s four-game sweep.
In Canada, Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals delivered a combined average audience of 6.9 million viewers across simulcast coverage on Sportsnet, CityTV, ABC (in Canada) and RDS, making it the country’s most-watched TV program this year and the country’s most-watched NBA game ever.
All told, 14.5 million people – some 40% of Canada’ population – watched all or part of Game 5 in Canada. The 2019 NBA Finals now accounts for five of the top eight programs of 2019 in the nation.