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Viewership for Bucks-Suns NBA Finals up substantially over 2020

By
Kyle Barnett
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo celebrates on Tuesday night with the MVP trophy at the conclusion of Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals, at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis. Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo celebrates on Tuesday night with the MVP trophy at the conclusion of Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals, at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis. Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

July 22 (UPI) -- The NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns drew substantially more viewers than the 2020 Finals, but fewer than the previous three that were staged before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Basketball Association said viewership for all six games was up 32%, with an average of 9.9 million viewers per game.

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Viewership for Game 6, the final game of the series, was up 50% over Game 6 of the 2020 Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

The Bucks won the series in six games to capture their first NBA title since 1971.

"The share -- the percentage of households with televisions on tuned into the NBA -- for NBA playoff and Finals games finished at its highest since 2002," the NBA said in a statement.

Viewership for Game 6 peaked at 16.5 million viewers in the 11 p.m. EDT hour, the NBA said.

Although viewership for the series improved over last year's Finals, it failed to match eyeballs on the championship round in 2019, 2018 and 2017. Last year's Finals was played in October due to delays caused by the pandemic.

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For all four rounds of the playoffs, viewership averaged 4.25 million -- up 35% over last year.

The league has moved more into streaming in recent years with the Finals being streamed on YouTube TV and broadcast on ABC/ESPN and NBA League Pass.

Streams on social media networks accounted for 1.245 billion views during the playoffs, the figures show.

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