SBD/May 9, 2011/Media

NBA Playoff Overnights Continue Gains Over The Weekend; Will Lakers' Loss Hurt Ratings?

ABC earns 6.5 overnight Nielsen rating for yesterday's Lakers-Mavericks game
ABC saw gains in overnight ratings for both of its NBA Playoff telecasts this weekend. The net earned a 6.5 overnight Nielsen rating for the Mavericks' 122-86 win over the Lakers yesterday that sent the Mavs into the Western Conference Finals. That is up 28% from the comparable Celtics-Cavaliers Game Four Eastern Conference Semifinal last year. Lakers-Mavericks also earned a 16.9 local rating in Dallas-Ft. Worth, marking the ABC's best non-NBA Finals telecast ever in the market. Meanwhile, ABC also saw gains for Heat-Celtics Eastern Conference Semifinal Game Three in primetime on Saturday. The game earned a 5.7 overnight rating, up 29.5% from a 4.4 overnight for the comparable Lakers-Jazz Western Conference Semifinal Game Three last year. ESPN also saw gains for its Friday night doubleheader. Bulls-Hawks Game Three in the early window was flat at a 2.9 overnight compared to Celtics-Cavaliers Game Three last year. In the late window, Mavericks-Lakers Game Three earned a 5.5 overnight, up 67% from Spurs-Suns Game Three last year. ESPN also earned a 2.9 overnight for Thunder-Grizzlies Game Three on Saturday afternoon, up 71% from a 1.7 overnight for the comparable Magic-Hawks Game Three last year. TNT earned a 4.6 overnight for Bulls-Hawks Game Four last night from 8:08-10:51pm, up 31.4% from a 3.5 overnight for Spurs-Suns last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).’s Marc Berman writes of Heat-Celtics, “For a Saturday consider this a ‘winning’ performance” (, 5/9).

WILL RATINGS SPUTTER WITHOUT LAKERS? USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes with the Lakers' loss, NBA ratings, "on a roll all season, might have just hit a big speed bump" during the playoffs (USA TODAY, 5/9). MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds wrote the Lakers' early exit "didn't do David Stern, the NBA and broadcast partners ABC, ESPN ... and TNT ... any favors with the Nielsens for the balance of the playoffs." Reynolds: "If the league's ratings can absorb this early loss of the Lakers, then the NBA is truly fantastic" (, 5/8). In Ohio, B.J. Bethel writes a Lakers-Heat Finals "would have been epic television, but in the long run, it's much better for the NBA that Dallas, a resident fly-over franchise, found its way into the conference finals." Bethel: "The NBA has to regrow its country roots. A run by Dallas to the title could help that" (DAYTON DAILY NEWS, 5/9).
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