Heat-Spurs Game 7 Earns 17.7 Overnight, ABC's Second-Best Figure For NBA
ABC earned a 17.7 overnight rating for Game 7 of the NBA Finals, the second-best figure for any NBA game since the net acquired rights to the league prior to '02-03 season. The game, which saw the Heat win a second consecutive championship with a 95-88 win over the Spurs, ranks behind only an 18.2 overnight for Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals Game 7 in ’10. The 17.7 also is up 28% from a 13.8 Spurs-Pistons Game 7 in '05. Last night’s game peaked at a 22.6 overnight during the end of the game from 11:30-11:45pm ET. The game earned a 46.4 local rating in San Antonio and a 44.2 rating in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, which is that market’s best rating ever for an NBA game. West Palm Beach (31.4), Austin (23.4) and Memphis (21.3) rounded out the top five. ABC is expected to win the night in primetime, with Game 7 marking the 37th straight time a Finals game was the top-rated show of the night. After being down year-over-year in ratings for much of the series, ABC averaged a 12.4 rating for the seven-game Heat-Spurs matchup, up 5% from the five-game Heat-Thunder series last year (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).FINISHING STRONG: In Miami, Barry Jackson writes ABC's Jeff Van Gundy had a "strong series," as he "quickly identified lineup mismatches and eyeballed and explained shifts in strategy." His "quirky observations add flavor to his commentary, but Van Gundy wisely pulled back some during the Finals because of the significance of the games." Meanwhile, ESPN's Bill Simmons said that he "enjoyed his first season on the ABC/ESPN studio show but hasn’t decided whether to return next year." Simmons: “The schedule, once the playoffs start, is pretty intense. I thought I would have more time to do other stuff. ... I want to take a couple weeks and think about what makes sense" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 6/21). Blogger Ed Sherman wrote it was a "treat to listen" to ABC's Mike Breen during the Finals. He "complements the telecast, knowing exactly how to set up his quirky partner, Jeff Van Gundy." But when the "big moment comes, as it did several times during Game 6, Breen rises to the occasion and delivers" (SHERMANREPORT.com, 6/20).
SOMETHING MISSING: SI's Richard Deitsch writes for those who "love pro basketball on the radio," the absence of ESPN Radio's Dr. Jack Ramsay during the playoffs due to illness "has been rough." Ramsay had "served as Finals analyst for ESPN Radio since joining the network full time" in '96. Ramsay was a "straight shooter as a broadcaster, avoiding back slapping and bloviating." Deitsch: "Best of all, he was an educator. You left one of his games smarter than when you came to it" (SI, 6/24 issue).
SIGNING OFF: The MIAMI HERALD's Jackson writes the "best news about the Finals ending" is that fans "need not be subjected any more to WPLG-Channel 10’s unoriginal, repetitive, cringe-inducing pom-pom waving pre-game show, the one that preempted ABC’s pregame coverage five out of the seven games." Among the things viewered learned was that Heat fans "were excited before all of the games," many of them were loud and sports bars did "a lot of business on game nights." For WPLG, "none of those scoops could be emphasized enough" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 6/21).