SBD/June 18, 2012/Media

NBA Finals Game Three Wins Night, But Down A Bit From Last Year

ABC has the highest ratings ever for NBA Finals since '04 through Game Two

Game Three of the Thunder-Heat NBA Finals Sunday was the highest rated show of the evening on television, though its 10.4 overnight rating is down 6% from last year's Mavericks-Heat Game Three, which earned an 11.1. ESPN says its three-game NBA Finals overnight average is an 11.3,  the highest three-game average since '04 and up 5% from last year's three-game average of 10.8. Last night's game peaked with a 14.7 rating from 10:30-10:45pm. Oklahoma City was the highest rated market (41.9), followed by Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (29.6). Meanwhile, Cleveland was 5th (18.1) and Seattle was 40th (8.2) (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

FINAL NUMBER THROUGH TWO GAMES: Through two games, Heat-Thunder ranked as the most-viewed Finals ever on ABC, averaging a 10.1 rating, the highest since '04 and the second highest-rated ever on ABC. Through those two games, the series is up 10% in household rating (10.1 vs. 9.2) and 7% in viewership (16.5 million vs. 15.3 million) compared to last year. Game Two recorded a 10.4 household rating, making it the highest-rated since '04 and the second-highest rated ever on ABC. The game was up 12% in household rating (10.4 vs. 9.2), 7% in viewership (16.6 million vs. 15.5 million) compared to last year. Game Two propelled ABC to a win Thursday night across all networks, broadcast and cable (ESPN).

WORTH THE WAIT? In Tampa, Tom Jones writes, "I lost interest in these NBA Finals because of the long delay between Games 2 and 3." Game Two was played Thursday night, and Game Three last night. Jones notes that is "no game Friday, a full day of sports Saturday and Saturday night, and a long day of sports Sunday, which included the U.S. Open, a NASCAR race, Major League Baseball games, the College World Series and soccer's Euro 2012." Jones: "By the time Sunday night rolled around, I was 'sported out' and had to remind myself what had happened in the first two games" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 6/18).

ANALYZING THE ANALYSTS: Blogger Ed Sherman noted ESPN Radio’s NBA Finals coverage team of analysts Jack Ramsay (87-years-old), Hubie Brown (78), and play-by-play voice Jim Durham (65) is the “oldest broadcast pairing in the history of old.” What matters is that they “remain vibrant, enthusiastic, and the former two former coaches can break down and explain the game better than anyone in the business” (SHERMANREPORT.com, 6/15). In N.Y., Mike Lupica called ESPN’s Jon Barry “a Collinsworth-in-waiting,” referring to NBC's Chris Collinsworth (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/17).  N.Y. Daily News columnist Bob Raissman said of ESPN's Magic Johnson, "He is terrible. Watching him, he talks about his old playing days. He flip flops and the guys that are with him ... they genuflect (to) this guy. He's taking over that show on ABC/ESPN" ("Daily News Live," SportsNet N.Y., 6/15).

BECOMING MORE SOCIAL: In Chicago, Paul Banks noted social benchmarking company Unmetric yesterday released its NBA Playoffs report “detailing the social media efforts of the top 16 NBA teams participating in the 2012 playoffs to better understand the interaction between the top performing teams and their fans.” The Unmetric Scores report shows that the Lakers “rank as the highest social media franchise, followed closely by” the Heat. The Clippers have done “the most to boost their social media presence over the last season.” The Grizzlies “have the lowest combined Unmetric score,” and the report shows that the Celtics “have done the worst job at conversing with fans on social media.” The team replies “to zero percent of its tweets, and has the lowest percentage of conversations with fans.” In regard to specific content that teams post on Facebook and Twitter, the Mavericks “leads the pack, rarely talking about anything other than themselves and their achievements” (CHICAGONOW.com, 6/17).

DIGITAL BOOST: MARKETWATCH's Sam Mamudi noted this year's NBA playoffs "are racking up record television audiences," and it is "good for the NBA's own TV and digital media business, which has enjoyed stellar gains this year." NBA TV saw "average audiences for its 96 live games jump 32%, to 335,000." While TV numbers are up, "the digital audience has jumped even more dramatically." There were "2.4 billion video streams on NBA.com during the regular season, a 71% increase from last year, and 7.7 million unique visitors to the site each day, a 21% rise." Unique users on NBA mobile apps "were up 149%." NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver said that the NBA's revenue growth from NBA Digital is "up by a double-digit percentage." Silver added that he thinks "some of the jump in digital audiences was attributable to international fans" (MARKETWATCH.com, 6/15).
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