Multitude Of NBA Game 7s Help Networks To Strong Ratings During The Weekend
ABC averaged a 4.9 overnight rating yesterday for the Spurs blowout, Game 7 win over the Mavericks from 4:00-6:30pm ET. It garnered a 31.1 local rating in San Antonio, the highest-rated first round NBA playoff game in the market on any network (records dating back to ’03). Meanwhile, ABC’s telecast of Nets-Raptors from 1:00-4:00pm scored a 3.9 rating. There were no comparable first-round Game 7s on ABC last year. The last first-round Game 7 on the net was Clippers-Grizzlies in ’12, which drew a 3.8 rating in the 1:00pm window. Meanwhile, ESPN’s coverage of the Trail Blazers’ last-second Game 6 win over the Rockets on Friday from 10:30pm-1:00am averaged a 3.2 rating. The 8.2 local rating in Houston marks the highest-rated first round playoff game on ESPN in that market (Karp & Carpenter, THE DAILY).
STRONG FIRST ROUND: TNT on Saturday averaged a 3.2 fast-national rating and 5.1 million viewers for its tripleheader of NBA Game 7s. Clippers-Warriors from 10:52pm-1:52am ET averaged a 3.6 rating and 6.0 million viewers, making it the net's most-watched first round playoff game since Lakers-Nuggets in '12 (6.5 million viewers). Thunder-Grizzlies from 8:14-10:52pm drew a 3.6 rating and 5.8 million viewers, giving the net a win among cable shows in primetime. Pacers-Hawks drew a 2.3 rating and 3.5 million viewers from 5:38-8:14pm. Meanwhile, NBA TV's seven first-round telecasts averaged 720,000 viewers, marking the net's most-viewed playoff coverage of all time and a 237% increase over '13. Thursday's Pacers-Hawks Game 6 was the net's most-watched telecast ever with 1.1 million viewers, surpassing the previous mark set two days earlier with 939,000 viewers for Thunder-Grizzlies. NBA TV's Pacers-Hawks Game 3 with 757,000 viewers ranked as the net's third most-watched game of all time (Turner).
LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay writes of the record-setting five NBA First Round Game 7s played over the weekend, "That was some exciting basketball weekend." Gay: "The most Game 7s in an NBA first round before this one? Two!" It was "magnificence on demand." Barely a "week after a scandal nearly stopped the sport in its tracks, a league shook as many thrills as it possibly could out of its opening round." It was as if "basketball forgot it was basketball and became hockey" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/5). In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes ESPN "stole a bit of TNT's thunder" yesterday, airing two more Game 7s on ABC with Spurs-Mavericks and Nets-Raptors. ESPN "could have had another seven-game playoff if not for a game-ending 3-point shot" that gave the Trail Blazers a win over the Rockets on Friday night (DENVER POST, 5/5).
KNICK OF TIME? In N.Y., Marc Berman notes TNT analyst Steve Kerr is "scheduled to broadcast" Clippers-Thunder Western Conference Semifinals Game 1 tonight. But that "could be Kerr’s last telecast." A source said that matters with the Knicks "should progress this week" regarding him becoming the next coach. The "potential snag is the uncertain situation" with the Warriors and reports that coach Mark Jackson "could be fired." Sources said that Kerr "may have interest in listening to the Warriors, but isn't willing to wait" (N.Y. POST, 5/5). In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht wrote Kerr during Saturday's Thunder-Grizzlies Game 7 "turned in his usual strong comments." It will be a "big loss for viewers if he gives up his microphone" to take the Knicks job (OKLAHOMAN, 5/4).
UNDER THE RADAR? In N.Y., John Koblin notes Clippers Owner Donald Sterling's "exclusive interview did not go to ESPN or NBC, but instead went to, of all people, Jason Binn, the founder of the two-year-old luxury and fashion magazine DuJour." Binn, a "longtime publisher of luxury magazines like Hamptons and Ocean Drive, is known for his enormous Rolodex of the rich and famous." He said that he and Sterling "had met several times." The "short, restrained article went online" at 7:02pm ET on Thursday, but it "went practically unnoticed." The Huffington Post "linked to it, but it wasn’t until Wolf Blitzer discussed it on 'The Situation Room' on CNN about 22 hours after it was published that the world seemed to recognize DuJour’s big get (N.Y. TIMES, 5/5).
AT THE WATER COOLER: Saturday night's episode of NBC's "SNL" began with a cold open featuring cast member Taran Killam as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressing the league's suspension of Sterling. Following his opening remarks, Killam introduces Sterling, played by Bobby Moynihan. As Sterling, Moynihan presents a cast of characters including former NBAer Dennis Rodman, played by Jay Pharoah, and former L.A. NAACP President Leon Jenkins, played by Kenan Thompson (THE DAILY).