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NBC earned a 3.9 overnight Nielsen rating for last night's Canucks-Bruins NHL Stanley Cup Final Game Six from 8:00-11:15pm ET, down 33% from a 5.8 for the series-clinching Blackhawks-Flyers Game Six last year, which aired on a Wednesday night. The telecast was also down slightly from both Penguins-Red Wings Game Six in '09 (4.1 overnight) and the series-clinching Red Wings-Penguins Game Six in '08 (4.4 overnight). However, the 3.9 overnight is up 77% from a 2.2 rating for Hurricanes-Oilers in '06, which was the last Stanley Cup Final Game Six to involve a Canadian team. Despite the Bruins being up 4-0 midway through the first period last night, the telecast peaked at a 4.8 rating during the last quarter hour of the game (11:00-11:15pm). Boston earned a 33.3 local rating for the game, while Providence earned an 18.4 rating.
FIVE GUYS: NBC's telecast of Bruins-Canucks Game Five last Friday earned a 2.6 final Nielsen rating and 4.319 million viewers from 8:00-11:00pm. Last year's Blackhawks-Flyers Game Five aired on a Sunday night, earning a 3.3 rating and 5.848 million viewers. The '07 series-clinching Ducks-Senators game Five earned a 1.8 rating on a Wednesday night, which was the last time a Canadian team appeared in a Game Five (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand notes that despite the year-over-year drop, Friday's Game Five figures are "not horrible," considering the Vancouver market "doesn't count in U.S. ratings." Still, "for a title series, this is a niche-sport rating" (USA TODAY, 6/14).
ABC averaged a 10.2 rating and 17.3 million viewers for the six-game Mavericks-Heat NBA Finals, marking the second most-viewed NBA Finals since Pistons-Lakers in '04 (17.9 million viewers). This year's figures are down 3.8% and 4.4%, respectively, from a 10.6 rating and 18.1 million viewers for last year's seven-game Lakers-Celtics series. Compared to the '06 Heat-Mavericks matchup, this year's Finals were up 20.0% and 33.7%, respectively. Sunday night's Game Six earned a 13.3 rating and 23.8 million viewers, marking the most-viewed Game Six ever on ABC and the most-viewed Game Six in 13 years. The Game Six figures were up 27.9% and 33.0%, respectively, from Lakers-Celtics Game Six last year. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale topped all U.S. markets for the six games of the NBA Finals this year, averaging a 33.7 local rating. Dallas-Ft. Worth finished second with a 30.7 rating, followed by West Palm Beach (17.7), San Antonio (15.5) and Cleveland-Akron (15.8) (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In Ft. Lauderdale, Tom Jicha noted it was ABC's "biggest non-Oscar Sunday since 2006." The game was a "demo smash as well, outperforming the 'American Idol' finale in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 category" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 6/13). DAILY VARIETY's Rick Kissell wrote under the header, "NBA Closer Huge For ABC" (VARIETY.com, 6/13).
NBA FINAL RATINGS TREND ON ABCYEARGAMESRATINGVIEWERS (000)MATCHUP'11610.217,339Mavericks-Heat'10710.618,144Lakers-Celtics'0958.414,347Lakers-Magic'0869.314,941Celtics-Lakers'0746.29,289Spurs-Cavaliers'0668.512,972Heat-Mavericks'0578.212,544Spurs-Pistons'04511.517,942Pistons-Lakers'0366.59,864Spurs-NetsTOP 10 MOST-VIEWED NBA FINALS TELECASTS SINCE '04YEARGAMERATINGVIEWERS (000)'10Lakers-Celtics: Game Seven15.628,203'11Mavericks-Heat: Game Six13.123,880'04Pistons-Lakers: Game Five13.821,843'04Pistons-Lakers: Game Four12.720,285'05Spurs-Pistons: Game Seven11.918,997'10Lakers-Celtics: Game Five10.818,654'11Heat-Mavericks: Game Five10.818,318'10Lakers-Celtics: Game Six10.417,960'10Lakers-Celtics: Game Four9.916,371'04Pistons-Lakers: Game Three10.516,213
SIMPLY MAV-ULOUS: In Dallas, Barry Horn noted WFAA-ABC averaged a 39.8 local rating and 1.03 million HHs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market for Game Six, marking the "largest local television rating in team history." Game Six also marked the "first time in the series that D-FW out-rated Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, which clocked in at 36.2." Horn noted Cleveland-Akron was the No. 3 market for Game Six, with WEWS-ABC averaging a 22.6 local rating for the game (DALLASNEWS.com, 6/13).
VOID TO FILL: On Long Island, Neil Best writes it was "no surprise the NBA Finals performed well, helped not only by Heat hatred but also a series of close, entertaining games." However, ESPN/ABC NBA analyst Mark Jackson leaving to coach the Warriors is a "loss for viewers." Jackson's chemistry with announcer Mike Breen and analyst Jeff Van Gundy, "each of whom he has known for years, will be difficult to replicate" (NEWSDAY, 6/14).
NEW YEAR, NEW RECORDS: NBA.com delivered 141 million video streams and 401 million page views during The Finals, up 89% and 11%, respectively, from last year's record numbers. Downloads of the NBA GameTime app also were up 37% over last year (Turner).
ESPN Films beginning this week will "create a weekend destination" on ESPN Classic, "designed to become the regular home for long-form sports storytelling," according to Georg Szalai of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The new effort, "ESPN Films on Classic," will "showcase sports films for 50 hours each weekend," starting at 10:00pm ET every Friday through midnight Sunday. In addition, ESPN Films "plans to launch this fall an annual documentary film series on the flagship ESPN channel," called "ESPN Films Presents," that will continue to showcase films that follow the "30 for 30" parameters. This fall's series "will feature six films with future years expected to have six to eight." Among the films "planned for this fall are 'Sign Here' by Morgan Spurlock about sports agents and the sports business," and documentaries from the '11 Tribeca Film Festival including "Catching Hell," Alex Gibney's film about Cubs fan Steve Bartman. ESPN Films Exec Producer Connor Schell said that the "30 for 30" series “exceeded all expectations and therefore led the company to look for a way to continue in the same vein.” ESPN Classic averaged 20,000 viewers in primetime in Q1, down from 24,000 in the last quarter of '10. But Szalai notes "ESPN Films on Classic" is "less about viewer numbers and more about giving ESPN Films and ‘30 for 30’ fans a specific destination they can regularly turn to.” ESPN Films also will "look for further acquisitions that fit its focus on long-form sports narrative and complement existing content” (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/14).
Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick during an interview with WSBT-AM in South Bend last week said there will be a Notre Dame network, but people will probably envision that "in traditional terms of something dramatic and new.” Swarbrick said, “You’ll sort of grow into it as you produce more and more digital programming and distribute it more broadly, and we’re committed to that. What is central to our ability to really build out of a viable network is the increased delivery of broadband video to homes." Swarbrick referenced the Univ. of Texas' Longhorn Network that is launching in August and said, "Texas is a cable platform, because they have dense geography. Ours is the inverse of that. We have fans everywhere -- not a huge concentration in one cable market. And so we’re going to be really well-positioned, as technology advances here, and we’re spending our time now building our digital programming” (WSBT-AM, 6/8). CBSSPORTS.com’s Tom Fornelli wrote it “does make sense for Notre Dame to pursue this option, as having its own network would be another revenue source.” Fornelli: “Plus, as Swarbrick himself states, Notre Dame is a national program. While Texas may have some fans around the country, the majority of the school's fan base can be found within Texas' borders. That's simply not the case for Notre Dame.” Meanwhile, when the school “plans on launching the network remains to be seen, as its current deal with NBC runs through 2015” (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/13).
GRABBING 'EM BY THE HORNS: In Phoenix, Mark Faller watched a recent Texas-Arizona State baseball game on ESPN and wrote he is “slowly going crazy with all the ads, promos and even the ‘crawl’ telling us every, oh, 10 minutes about the new Longhorn Network.” Faller: “I guess if you are paying that much money you feel obligated to promote it incessantly every time you show a UT event” (AZCENTRAL.com, 6/11).
GEARING UP OUT WEST: CBSSPORTS.com's Bryan Fischer noted with the Pac-10 Conference's television rights deal out of the way, Commissioner Larry Scott has "now turned to what some consider the league's possible crown jewel -- the Pac-12 Network." The "immediate focus" of Scott and Pac-10 Deputy Commissioner & COO Larry Weiberg is to get the net "off the ground by the time the league's new deal begins next summer" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/10). See CBSSports.com's profile on Scott in today's DAILY for more on the launch of the Pac-12 Network.