SBD/April 21, 2014/Media

Opening Slate Of NBA Playoff Overnights Flat On TNT, Down For ESPN/ABC

Bobcats-Heat on ABC was top-rated NBA playoff game for the weekend

ESPN/ABC saw a decline for its opening weekend of NBA Playoff telecasts. The two nets combined to average a 2.9 overnight for five games on Saturday and Sunday, down 6% from a 3.1 overnight last season. ABC’s Bobcats-Heat yesterday led the way with a 4.0 overnight, but that figure was down from a 4.6 overnight for the comparable Spurs-Lakers Game 1 last year, which marked the net’s best opening weekend playoff overnight in a decade. In Charlotte, the game earned the best NBA first round rating in the market since at least ’03. The telecast also earned a 17.1 local rating in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, marking the second-best first round playoff rating in the market. Saturday’s Warriors-Clippers opener on ABC drew a 3.5 overnight, down from a 3.7 overnight for Celtics-Knicks last year. Meanwhile, ESPN drew a 9.4 local rating in Indianapolis for Hawks-Pacers on Saturday night, marking the second-best first round rating in the market on record. TNT averaged a 2.9 overnight rating for its opening tripleheader of the NBA Playoffs yesterday, flat compared to the same slate last season. Last night’s Trail Blazers-Rockets OT matchup led the way with a 3.1 overnight, down from a 3.3 rating for Thunder-Rockets Game 1 last year. TNT also drew a 2.9 overnight for Wizards-Bulls Game 1 yesterday, down sharply from a 3.6 rating for the Bucks-Heat opener in ’13. Sunday afternoon’s Mavericks-Spurs opener earned a 2.6 overnight, up big from a 1.9 rating for Hawks-Pacers last year (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

ON THE CLOCK: USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt cited a source as saying that ESPN “caused the shot clocks to malfunction” during Nets-Raptors Game 1 Saturday at Air Canada Centre when the net “tried to solve an internal issue by plugging into the same power source for the shot clocks, causing the power source to fry.” The shot clocks “stopped working midway through the third quarter, and arena workers could not get the backup shot clocks to work because they used the same power source.” Players “relied on the public address announcer to inform them of the time left on the shot clock” (, 4/20).  The CP’s Lori Ewing noted MLSE “took blame for using the same power source for the primary and backup shot clocks.” The damaged cables in the baskets were “replaced and tested Sunday, and the primary and backup clocks are no longer using the same power source” (CP, 4/20).

NET GAIN: In N.Y. Phil Mushnick writes of WFAN-AM Nets broadcasters Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw, “The mark of any superior radio call is when you’re in no hurry to leave the car to watch the same game on TV. Why abandon the call of Saturday’s Nets-Raptors Game 1 on radio when it seemed as if that call could not be improved upon?” Mushnick: “At no point did I have a question they hadn’t already answered. They saw the floor, gave the score” (N.Y. POST, 4/21).
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