ESPN Finishes NBA Playoffs Coverage on High Note

Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns goes up for a shot against Terance Mann #14 of the LA Clippers during the first half in Game Six of the Western Conference Finals at Staples Center on June 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns goes up for a shot against Terance Mann #14 of the LA Clippers during the first half in Game Six of the Western Conference Finals at Staples Center on June 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Image credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

ESPN’s June 30 telecast of the Phoenix Suns’  closeout win against the L.A. Clippers in the Western Conference Finals series drew 5.8 million viewers, according to the sports network's analysis of Nielsen data.

The game, won by the Suns to advance to the NBA Finals, was up 64 percent from ESPN’s Conference Finals Game six last year between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat that was played in the pandemic-induced bubble in Florida, according to Nielsen.

Read also: Weekly Cable Ratings: TNT, ESPN Tie for Primetime Ratings Honors

Overall, ESPN and ABC’s coverage of the NBA Western Conference Finals generated an average viewership of 5.3 million viewers across six games, up 33 percent from ESPN’s six-game NBA Eastern Conference Finals coverage last year.

For the playoffs, ESPN and ABC averaged 3.9 million viewers across 33 games -- including the NBA Play-In Tournament -- up 34 percent year over year, according to Nielsen. 

ABC will air the NBA Finals beginning next week. 

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.