SBD/April 18, 2011/Media

NBA Overnights Up During First Weekend Of Playoff Telecasts

The opening weekend of the '11 NBA Playoffs saw overnight Nielsen ratings gains across ABC, ESPN and TNT compared to last season. ABC's Hornets-Lakers Western Conference First Round Game One yesterday afternoon led all weekend telecasts with a 4.6 overnight, up 12% from the comparable Lakers-Thunder Game One last year. The net's 76ers-Heat Eastern Conference First Round Game One on Saturday was up 18% compared to the Cavaliers-Bulls opener last year. ESPN saw gains for two of the net's three windows on Saturday, led by a 2.8 overnight for Pacers-Bulls (+56%). The net's only decline was for Hawks-Magic, which was down 14% compared to the Celtics-Heat opener last year. TNT also saw gains for two of its three NBA Playoff windows yesterday. Knicks-Celtics earned a 4.3 overnight, up 48% from Spurs-Mavericks last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

NBA PLAYOFFS OPENING WEEKEND OVERNIGHT RATINGS
DATE
GAME
NET
RAT.
'10 GAME
RAT.
% +/-
4/17
Hornets-Lakers
ABC
4.6
Lakers-Thunder
4.1
12.2%
4/17
Knicks-Celtics
TNT
4.3
Spurs-Mavericks
2.9
48.3%
4/16
76ers-Heat
ABC
3.9
Cavaliers-Bulls
3.3
18.2%
4/17
Nuggets-Thunder
TNT
3.4
Suns-Trail Blazers
2.2
54.5%
4/16
Pacers-Bulls
ESPN
2.8
Hawks-Bucks
1.8
55.6%
4/16
Trail Blazers-Mavericks
ESPN
2.7
Jazz-Nuggets
2.4
12.5%
4/16
Hawks-Magic
ESPN
2.5
Celtics-Heat
2.9
-13.8%
4/17
Grizzlies-Spurs
TNT
2.3
Magic-Bobcats
2.5
-8.0%
             

WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK FOR? In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes ABC, ESPN and TNT "could enjoy huge first-round success because for the first time in 21 years," teams from the five largest TV markets -- N.Y., L.A., Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas -- are in the playoffs. Boston is No. 7. The first games of all eight series aired nationally this weekend in their own time slots, and Saunders writes, "I can't recall the start of an NBA playoff season that was as organized as the one produced over the weekend" (DENVER POST, 4/18). Meanwhile, in L.A., Diane Pucin previewed the NBA playoff coverage under the header, "TNT And ESPN: Different Looks At The Same NBA Game." During the playoffs, ESPN's "highly orchestrated pregame, postgame and in-game NBA telecasts offer a whole lot of pro basketball." By comparison, TNT and its studio team of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley, its "sideline reports from Craig Sager and his kaleidoscopic jackets, its 'Gone Fishin'' graphics, offer a whole lot of laughs and goofs to make you wonder if any adults are in charge." NBA Entertainment Exec Producer Danny Meiseles "cited a record-setting number of 100 million unique viewers on all the networks (including NBA TV) this season as a sign that the partnership with ESPN/ABC, TNT and NBA TV is working." Pucin: "In the battle for the NBA, it's closer to a win-win" (L.A. TIMES, 4/17).

I DREAMED A STREAM: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' R. Thomas Umstead noted while Turner "has yet to announce which of TNT’s telecasts will feature the online multi-camera offering during the first round of the playoffs, network officials say the service will be in place for at least eight second-round games and all of TNT’s Eastern Conference finals telecasts." Now in its third season, the "online multi-camera feature averaged 277,000 streams over 12 games during the 2010 NBA playoffs" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 4/16).

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