ABC probably wishes the NBA Finals would have gone longer than five games, with Thursday night’s deciding game wrapping up the highest-rated NBA championship series in eight years, Deadline.com reports. ABC used the opportunity Thursday to stomp on the prime-time competition one last time with its basketball broadcasts — with NBC taking it especially hard.
Ratings for game five, in which the Miami Heat put away the Oklahoma City Thunder to claim the title, were about even with last year. TVbytheNumbers.com reports that ABC’s game broadcast scored a 6.4 average rating in the key 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen overnights, compared with a 6.3 for last year’s game five.
The numbers could change considerably when they’re adjusted, due to the nature of live sports programming. Additionally, it’s worth noting that last year’s game five was not the series clincher, as the Finals — in which the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat — went six games. With a more competitive series last year, game six rose to an 8.6 rating in 18-49.
Nielsen data examining households in the major markets shows that the series as a whole averaged an 11.8 overnight rating — up 5% over the first five games of last year’s NBA Finals, Deadline reports. The website adds: “This year is the highest five-game average since 2004 and the second-highest ever for ABC. Thursday’s NBA Finals Game 5 scored a 12.5 overnight rating, matching last year’s battle between the Heat and the Dallas Mavericks.”
The Washington Post notes that game five pulled a 40.3 overnight household rating in Miami, the biggest number for an NBA game in the market.
ABC dominated the prime-time results, averaging a 5.3 rating in adults 18-49, far ahead of CBS (1.5), Univision (1.3), Fox (1.3) and an especially low-rated night for fifth-place NBC (0.7). ABC also won big in total viewers, averaging 12.9 million to CBS’s 7.0 million, Fox’s 3.7 million, Univision’s 3.6 million and NBC’s 3.2 million.
CBS got by with an all-repeat lineup while Fox put up modestly rated fresh episodes of “Take Me Out” (1.2 average in 18-49) and “The Choice” (1.5). NBC saw dismal results for night two of “Justin Bieber: All Around the World” — which fared even worse than the disastrous first night with a 0.8 — along with an extremely poorly rated episode of “Saving Hope” (0.5) and a typically lackluster 0.8 for “Rock Center," equaling a week earlier.