Despite rumblings about the size of Cleveland and Orlando’s respective media markets, TNT’s coverage of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals delivered impressive numbers Wednesday night, as the Cavs-Magic battle averaged 7.32 million viewers.
Magic power forward Rashard Lewis sank a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left on the clock, giving the Magic a 107-106 victory, in a nail-biter that out-delivered last year’s Game 1 delivery (5.43 million viewers) by 35 percent.
On the demo front, the May 20 Eastern Conference Finals opener scared up 4.2 million adults 18-49, per Nielsen ratings data.
Through 38 NBA Playoff games, TNT is averaging 4.09 million total viewers, up 12 percent versus last year.
Having apparently overlooked league MVP LeBron James and Magic center Dwight Howard, some observers had predicted a ratings slide for TNT, based on the size of both clubs’ respective markets. Cleveland-Akron is the nation’s 17th-largest DMA, while Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne ranks 19th.
Coverage of the Cavs-Magic series continues Friday night at 9 p.m. on TNT.