SBD/June 14, 2012/Media

Heat-Thunder Marks ABC's Most-Viewed Finals Opener Since Getting NBA Rights

ABC earned a 9.9 final rating and 16.195 million viewers for Game One of the Heat-Thunder NBA Finals on Tuesday night, marking the best NBA Finals opener since Lakers-Nets on NBC in '02. ESPN/ABC acquired NBA rights prior to the '02-03 season, and the net's previous best for an NBA Finals opener was a 9.8 rating and 15.4 million viewers for Pistons-Lakers in '04. Compared to the Mavericks-Heat opener last year, Heat-Thunder is up 10% and 7%, respectively. Game One on Tuesday night also led ABC to a win in primetime among all nets (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In Miami, Adam Beasley asks, "Why the heck do they start these NBA Finals games so late?" If the NBA would "schedule the games to begin in the 8 o'clock hour, it would be great for South Florida, but the league would essentially write off Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Seattle for at least the first half." That is an "unacceptable prospect for the suits at ABC." It is "hard to argue with the strategy, considering the results" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/14).

NBA FINAL GAME ONE AUDIENCE TREND
YEAR
NET
MATCHUP
DAY
RAT.
VIEWERS (000)
'12
ABC
Heat-Thunder
Tues.
9.9
16,195
'11
ABC
Mavericks-Heat
Tues.
9.0
15,171
'10
ABC
Lakers-Celtics
Thur.
8.6
14,091
'09
ABC
Lakers-Magic
Thur.
7.8
13,042
'08
ABC
Celtics-Lakers
Thur.
8.7
13,350
'07
ABC
Spurs-Cavaliers
Thur.
6.3
9,206
'06
ABC
Heat-Mavericks
Thur.
7.8
11,514
'05
ABC
Spurs-Pistons
Thur.
7.2
10,569
'04
ABC
Pistons-Lakers
Sun.
9.8
15,352
'03
ABC
Spurs-Nets
Wed.
6.4
n/a
'02
NBC
Lakers-Nets
Wed.
10.6
n/a
'01
NBC
Lakers-76ers
Wed.
12.4
n/a
'00
NBC
Lakers-Pacers
Wed.
10.5
n/a


SPREADING THE LOVE
: ESPN Deportes' telecast of Heat-Celtics Eastern Conference Finals Game Seven last Saturday night was the net's third-best rating for any NBA Playoff game ever. The net's top two telecasts were Games Five and Four, respectively, from the '09 Lakers-Nuggets Western Conference Finals (ESPN).

PUMP FAKE: In N.Y., Tony Gervino writes the phenomenon of phony Twitter accounts is "nearly as old as social media itself." Sports is a "more difficult theater for such a digital endeavor, as athletes and coaches are prone to offering platitudes instead of insight, and humor is generally left to the professionals or Charles Barkley." To create a "successful Twitter doppelgänger that followers retweet or make a favorite requires a perpetrator with the amount of free time usually associated with a touch of genius or a hint of desperation." Gervino: "Luckily, several members of each camp tuned in to watch the NBA finals, just as they had during each game of the season, including the playoffs." Live-tweeting big sporting events "can provide an entertaining second-screen experience, in which viewers are no longer alone in their homes, should they choose not to be." And observing the "tightrope that the band of fake Twitter brothers must walk -- parody is not easy, after all -- can help salve the sting of a desultory contest." Gervino offers some examples of fake NBA Twitter accounts, including @NotChuckBarkley, @kobemask, @FakeCoachPop and @NotWaltFrazier (N.Y. TIMES, 6/14).
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