Though it may not be as impressive as ending Cleveland's 52-year title drought, LeBron James helped the NBA end another streak. Sunday night's thrilling finish to the 2016 season was the most-watched NBA game this century. The Cleveland Cavaliers 93-89 victory averaged 30.8 million viewers, the first NBA game to cross the 30 million threshold in 18 years.
Golden State Warriors
Ever since last June, when Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors were celebrating the franchise's first title in 40 years on the home court of their vanquished opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA fans—and more than a few TV and league executives—have been hoping for a rematch.
The Golden State Warriors aren't just seemingly unstoppable on the court and—as we reported yesterday—in the realm of branding.
It seemed like an easy call for ESPN. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant playing in the final game of his storied 20-year career in front of the only fan base he's ever called home. "That was a no-brainer to grab and put into our schedule right from the beginning," said Julie Sobieski, vp of programming for ESPN.
Once the domain of true crime series and procedural drama reruns, Saturday nights are suddenly getting a lot more competiteve on broadcast TV.