TORONTO – The greatest moment in Toronto Raptors history produced the biggest television ratings in Canada for an NBA game.
Sportsnet says Sunday night’s Game 7 between the Raptors and visiting Philadelphia 76ers attracted an average audience of 2.2 million viewers.
A peak audience of 3.8 million was watching when Kawhi Leonard hit the buzzer-beater to lift the Raptors to a win over the visiting Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Eastern Conference semifinal.
The Sunday night tipoff — traditionally a strong evening for TV ratings — and the fact no Canadian teams are left in the NHL playoffs gave the Raptors the sporting spotlight in this country.
Sportsnet says its average audience for the four games it showed during the second-round series was 1.3 million viewers, a 113 per-cent increase over the same round for the Raptors last year.
The 2.2-million figure is a big jump over a typical Raptors game. TSN reported it attracted a regular-season Raptors record audience of 710,000 for DeMar DeRozan’s return to Toronto with the San Antonio Spurs in February.
TSN had a then-record average audience of 1.8 million for a Raptors playoff game in 2016 as Toronto beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in a third-round contest.
The NBA has said viewership in the regular season was up 29 per cent from last year.
Sportsnet and TSN split the Raptors broadcast schedule.
The Raptors begin the Eastern Conference final on Wednesday night in Milwaukee against the Bucks.