SBD/Issue 179/Sports Media

NBA Finals Game One Earns 10.4 Overnight Nielsen Rating

Celtics' Game One Win Earns 10.4 Overnight Rating
Thursday night's Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals Game One earned a 10.4 overnight Nielsen rating, up 30.0% from the comparable 8.0 for last year's Spurs-Cavaliers Game One.  The game earned a 22.8 in L.A. and a 21.7 in Boston, while peaking at a 12.3 from 11:30-11:45pm ET. The 10.4 marks the second-highest Game One overnight ratings since ABC starting airing the NBA Finals six years ago, behind only an 11.5 for Lakers-Pistons in '04, which aired on a Sunday night (THE DAILY). In Houston, David Barron writes, "Maybe nostalgia will give this series a jolt, but I don't see the final average exceeding an 11 or 12 Nielsen rating, and that's only if the series goes to six games" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/6). The following chart breaks down Game One overnight ratings by quarter hours.

QUARTER HOUR (ET)
MM RATING
9:00pm
7.70
9:15pm
9.02
9:30pm
9.37
9:45pm
10.04
10:00pm
10.41
10:15pm
9.22
10:30pm
10.21
10:45pm
11.00
11:00pm
11.65
11:15pm
11.72
11:30pm
12.32
11:45pm
12.22

SERIES ALREADY CREATING STORYLINES: ESPN execs were nothing short of giddy following Lakers-Celtics Game One, saying that the series already is creating compelling storylines that should build buzz around the net's telecasts. Speaking from TD Banknorth Garden on Friday morning, ESPN Senior Dir of Programming & Acquisitions Douglas White referenced Celtics F Paul Pierce's knee injury and dramatic return as a case-in-point. "That kind of drama makes these games so special. You can't script that kind of thing." Though ESPN/ABC is not approaching this series any differently than last year's Spurs-Cavaliers Finals with regard to the game productions, White said ESPN/ABC would continue to focus more on the history between the Celtics and Lakers and highlight the two teams as much as individual players. "We want to make sure we highlight the great players of today," White said. "But we like to focus more on the teams. The Lakers and Celtics are timeless brands" (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

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