*ABC’s broadcast of the NBA Finals’ Game 7 gave the network its highest-rated telecast ever, and the largest basketball audience overall in 12 years.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Thursday night’s matchup — which saw the LA Lakers defeat the Boston Celtics for the championship title — delivered 28.2 million viewers, the biggest viewership since a Bulls vs. Jazz game in 1998.
The face-off also marks ABC’s highest-rated NBA Finals game, climbing 32% from the last Game 7 to air (Pistons vs. Spurs in 2005). It was also TV’s top non-Olympics summer telecast in nearly 10 years.
ABC’s Finals coverage led the network to dominate primetime for all seven nights of the series, averaging 18.1 million viewers and a 7.3 rating — the most-watched NBA Finals in nine years.
Meanwhile, the City of Los Angeles has scheduled a scaled back Lakers’ victory parade this year, and officials have already made it clear that the shenanigans and tomfoolery that took place in the hours after Thursday night’s win will not be tolerated.
“If you’re coming here to vandalize, if you’re coming here to disrupt, well, then you’re going to stay because we are going to put you in jail,” Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters Monday, adding that his officers will be out in force along the two-mile parade route and he expects a safe celebration.
To rein in costs, this year’s victory parade will not have the rallies or side celebrations of past years. The bash will begin at 11 a.m. at the Staples Center, where the team will simply board a flatbed and roll down Figueroa Street to the University of Southern California.