Mavericks-Heat NBA Finals Opener Earns 9.0 Final Rating, Up 5% From Lakers-Celtics
ABC earned a 9.0 final Nielsen rating and 15.2 million viewers for Tuesday night's Mavericks-Heat NBA Finals Game One, up 4.7% and 7.7%, respectively, from an 8.6 rating and 14.1 million viewers for Lakers-Celtics Game One last year, which aired on a Thursday night. This year's Game One marks ABC's second-best Game One audience since the net acquired NBA TV rights prior to the '02-03 season. Mavericks-Heat Game One is also up 15.4% and 31.8% from a 7.8 rating and 11.514 million viewers for the Heat-Mavericks opener of the '06 NBA Finals (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In N.Y., Michael Starr writes the strong rating for Game One is "due largely to the popularity" of Heat F LeBron James, who "has been a boon to the NBA this playoff season." TNT earned "record NBA cable ratings for its coverage" of the Heat-Bulls Eastern Conference Finals (N.Y. POST, 6/2). In Miami, Barry Jackson notes the Heat's "knack for drawing eyeballs remains a constant in these playoffs." The 31.9 rating for Game One in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market is the "second-highest rating of the year" locally, behind only Super Bowl XLV. In addition, the local rating for Tuesday's game "far exceeded the one for Game 1" of the '06 Heat-Mavericks Finals, which drew a 24.9 rating in the market (MIAMI HERALD, 6/2).
LOCKOUT? WHAT LOCKOUT? SPORTING NEWS' Sean Devaney notes ABC's plan in covering the Finals is to "avoid lockout talk altogether, so the casual fans' awareness of the NBA potentially heading into a labor abyss ... remains limited." ABC analyst Mark Jackson said, "There's too many great stories in this final matchup to discuss something that would happen potentially at the end of it. I think the thing we want to do is celebrate the game, celebrate the matchup, and I don't really think the fans are interested in it right now" (SPORTING NEWS TODAY, 6/2).
AROUND THE WORLD: The NBA yesterday said that this year's Finals will be the most widely distributed in league history. The Mavericks-Heat series will be televised live in 215 countries and territories and in 46 languages. In addition, all games will be available live online for the first time on mobile devices in 200 countries and territories. Furthermore, the first international in-home 3D broadcast of the NBA Finals will be available in several major markets, including Australia, China, France, Turkey and the U.K. (NBA).