SBD/Issue 185/Sports Media

ABC Earns 11.5 Overnight For Lakers-Celtics Game Three, Up 14%

ABC earned an 11.5 overnight Nielsen rating for last night's Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals Game Three, marking the best overnight for a Game Three since Pistons-Lakers earned a 12.6 overnight in '04 on a Thursday night. The 11.5 overnight is up 13.9% from a 10.1 rating for Lakers-Magic Game Three last year, and up 6.5% from a 10.8 overnight for Celtics-Lakers in '08. Last night's telecast peaked at a 14.7 rating during the 11:30-11:45pm ET window, and helped give ABC a win in primetime among all networks. The game earned a 28.0 rating in L.A. and a 22.8 rating in Boston (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). DAILY VARIETY's Rick Kissell writes a "competitive, marquee matchup in the NBA Finals is good news for ABC, which is delivering the event's largest early audience in six years." Fans are "always interested in the Los Angeles Lakers, but throw the rival Boston Celtics into the mix, and you've got the potential for some nifty Nielsen numbers." The teams "split the first two games, likely portending a six or seven-game series, which will mean even bigger ratings" (DAILY VARIETY, 6/9).

MARKET WATCH: Celtics-Lakers Game Two aired directly opposite NBC's coverage of Flyers-Blackhawks NHL Stanley Cup Final Game Five Sunday night. Among U.S. metered-market ratings for the telecasts, only Las Vegas cracked the top 10 for both telecasts, earning a 3.9 local rating for NBC's NHL telecast and a 14.7 for ABC's NBA telecast. Below are the top 10 U.S. markets for each telecast (THE DAILY).

NBA FINALS GAME TWO
ON ABC
NHL STANLEY CUP FINAL GAME FIVE
ON NBC
RANK
MARKET
RATING
RANK
MARKET
RATING
1
L.A.
25.1
1
Chicago
26.0
2
Boston
23.9
2
Philadelphia
19.7
3
Las Vegas
14.7
3
Buffalo
10.6
4
Norfolk
14.1
4
Pittsburgh
5.8
5
DC
14.0
5
Detroit
4.2
6
Providence
13.7
6
Las Vegas
3.9
7t
Birmingham
13.2
7
Minneapolis
3.8
7t
Memphis
13.2
8
Ft. Myers
3.7
9
San Diego
13.1
9
Milwaukee
3.6
10
Richmond
12.4
10t
Denver
3.3
 
 
 
10t
Columbus
3.3
 
 
 
10t
West Palm Beach
3.3

ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS: The AP's Brian Mahoney wondered with ESPN/ABC NBA analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson "frequently linked to openings for coaching jobs, how long can ABC keep its team together?" Van Gundy "professes no desire to get back into coaching for now, while Jackson would like an opportunity but says he'll be fine if it doesn't come." ESPN/ABC announcer Mike Breen "realizes there will come a day when he looks down the table and sees new faces." Breen: "I know they're going to go. I'm just praying that it still lasts a few more years before they get their coaching jobs" (AP, 6/8).

PLAYING SECOND FIDDLE? In L.A., Diane Pucin writes NBA TV during the Finals "isn't getting much preferential treatment, at least for postgame interviews." After last night's Game Three, a "parade of somber-looking, green-wearing women filed by" Lakers F Pau Gasol in a "narrow hallway" as he was being interviewed by the net. NBA TV's Matt Winer "suggested perhaps Gasol was sitting in a supply closet." Pucin writes, "Maybe before Thursday the league's network can get a room" (L.A. TIMES, 6/9).

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