SBD/June 6, 2011/Media

ABC Earns 11.1 Overnight For Heat-Mavericks Game Three, Down 3.5% From '10

Last night's overnight marks second-best Game Three rating since '02-03 season

ABC earned an 11.1 overnight Nielsen rating for last night’s Heat-Mavericks NBA Finals Game Three from 8:00-11:00pm ET, down 3.5% from an 11.5 overnight for the comparable Lakers-Celtics Game Three last year, which aired on a Tuesday night. The 11.1 overnight marks the second-best Game Three overnight since ABC acquired NBA rights prior to the ’02-03 season and is also up 23.3% from a 9.0 overnight for Heat-Mavericks Game Three in ‘06. Game Three peaked at a 15.1 rating from 10:30-10:45pm. The telecast led ABC to a win among all nets in primetime last night and marks the 22nd straight NBA Finals telecast to be the top primetime program on its respective night. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale led all markets with a 32.3 local rating, while Dallas-Ft. Worth earned a 26.7 rating. ABC finished with a 9.3 final rating and 15.5 million viewers for last Thursday's Mavericks-Heat Game Two, up 1.1% in ratings, but down 1.2% in viewership from Lakers-Celtics Game Two last year, which aired on a Sunday night (9.2 rating, 15.7 million viewers). Through two games, ABC is averaging a 9.2 rating and 14.3 million viewers, up 3.4% and 2.9%, respectively, from a 8.9 rating and 14.9 million viewers through the same point last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

PLAYING FAVORITES? In Dallas, Barry Horn wrote ABC/ESPN "apparently believes the NBA world revolves on a Heat axis." The network is "simply overly invested in the Heat, and the broadcasters, the faces of the franchise, are now left to take the heat." As much as Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy "testify they walk a straight line and talk down the middle, it sure sounds as if the Mavericks have been getting the short end here" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/4). In Orlando, Shannon Owens writes ABC "adores" the Heat, and "has given plenty of shine" to G Dwyane Wade and F LeBron James. Last night, ABC's "lovefest continued for most of the broadcast as the halftime report was exclusively dedicated to Miami coverage." But Owens adds, "In terms of personality, the Mavericks don't exactly provide Masterpiece Theatre for the NBA. The Mavericks' focus and low-key persona helped keep them in Game 2, but it isn't keeping them on the small screen" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/6). Meanwhile, FOXSPORTS.com's Brian Lowry writes Jackson "has become the master of the meaningless, uttering limp observations and silly catchphrases -- 'Mama, there goes that man!'; 'Hand down, man down'; 'Energy and effort' -- that, content-wise, amount to little more than empty calories." Van Gundy "certainly can be irritating," yet his "opinions and one-liners -- wrong-headed and strained as they sometimes are -- come across as clear and forceful in comparison to Jackson, and his criticism usually is pointed." Also, Lowry writes "nobody will confuse Breen with Marv Albert, but at least he has a terrific voice and knows how to convey a sense of excitement" (FOXSPORTS.com, 6/6).

READY FOR THE MIC? There has been plenty made about Shaquille O'Neal's future as an NBA analyst following his retirement last week, but in N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote when you "get past all the speculation, self-promotion and hype, O'Neal is far from being a sure thing to succeed as a studio analyst." O'Neal "usually takes a humorous approach," and he is "less inclined to be serious." Also, there is "every reason to believe O'Neal might be reluctant to offer pointed critical analysis, take shots at coaches and players." Raissman: "If that were to be the case, O'Neal would be a disaster in the studio, especially with his soft-spoken, monotone delivery" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/5).

TAKING TURNS: In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes NBA and NHL execs, in partnership with ABC and NBC, respectively, "have wisely refrained from televising Finals games on the same night or day." Still, "early figures show the NBA is far more popular on television than the NHL." Games One and Two of Mavericks-Heat "averaged more than 15 million viewers," while Bruins-Canucks Game One "had an audience of about 5 million" (DENVER POST, 6/6).

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