Yes, Game 7 of the NBA Finals on ABC absolutely crushed the “live” viewing of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” as expected, but HBO’s “Battle of the Bastards” episode still managed to beat its previous episode even against the tough competition.
“Game of Thrones” hauled in 7.660 million total viewers on Sunday, up from 7.600 million a week before. That total also topped the season’s Live + Same Day Nielsen average of 7.562 million overall audience members.
The high-water mark for “GoT” this season is still the premiere episode, which earned 7.944 million viewers. The fifth episode of this run, No. 55 overall, is the current runner-up this season.
“Thrones” ticked up this weekend in the millennial demographic — adults 18-34 — but same-day tune-in decreased among households. That latter point is to be expected given the hysteria surrounding the winner-take-all Game 7. It is reasonable to assume that torn living rooms across the country prioritized the live sporting event over a drama they could record.
HBO prefers to wait for DVR and additional multiplatform viewing to come in before reporting its TV ratings, holding out for a more-inclusive and more impressive figure. And that’s fair.
For an admittedly unfair comparison, the Cleveland Cavaliers clincher scored 30.8 million total viewers — the biggest tune-in for championship series since Michael Jordan last won a ring in 1998.