ESPN had a milestone night last night with its coverage of Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference Finals, in which the Golden State Warriors knocked off the Houston Rockets to advance to the NBA Finals.
ESPN reports that the game was the highest-rated NBA game on the sports network since 2012. And the game’s 6.8 overnight rating from Nielsen was the best for any ESPN telecast since January.
The game also posted record local ratings in the San Francisco and Houston markets.
“Last night’s telecast is the highest-rated NBA game on ESPN since its telecast of Miami Heat-Boston Celtics Eastern Conference Finals Game 7 on June 9, 2012,” ESPN announced today. “Game 5 is also the highest-rated ESPN telecast of 2015 since the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship on January 12.”
The game was up double-digits from the comparable numbers for both the Western Conference Finals and the Eastern Conference Finals Game 5’s a year ago. “Last night’s 6.8 was up 28 percent from a 5.3 for San Antonio-Oklahoma City in 2014 and up 19 percent from a 5.7 for Miami-Indiana in 2014,” ESPN noted.
Locally, last night’s game delivered a 21.9 in San Francisco and a 17.1 in Houston. “Both rank as the highest-rated NBA games on ESPN in those markets, as far as records go back (2003),” ESPN noted.
ESPN’s flagship news show “SportsCenter” also benefited.
“Last night’s midnight ET edition of ‘SportsCenter’ on ESPN delivered a 3.1 overnight rating, making it the highest-rated ‘SportsCenter’ in the timeslot since the night of the inaugural College Football National Championship game,” ESPN reported.
Coverage of the NBA Finals, in which the Warriors will face the Cleveland Cavaliers, will start Thursday, June 4, at 9 p.m. ET, on ABC.