HOLLYWOOD — The NBA Finals continue to perform at a best-since-1998 pace, with Sunday’s Game 3 delivering better than 20% year-to-year ratings growth.
According to metered-market overnight data from Nielsen, the Los Angeles Lakers’ victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on NBC (7:45-10:45 EDT) produced a series-best 16.1 rating/26 share. This represents a 24% increase vs. last year’s 13.0/22 for the Lakers-Indiana Pacers series, and is the best overnight rating for a third game of pro basketball’s championship round in the post-Michael Jordan era (since 1998).
Game peaked in the overnights with a 19.7/30 from 10-10:30. The top scores nationally again came from Philadelphia (40.8/55) and Los Angeles (34.4/58), the best ratings yet in both cities.
Three-game overnight average for this year’s finals (15.3/25) is 20% better than last year’s 12.8/22.
In national ratings, Friday’s Game 2 averaged 18.72 million viewers, up slightly from Wednesday’s overtime opener (18.58m), a 24% improvement vs. last year (14.97m) and the best for a second game since 1998. In adults 18-49, game’s 8.5/27 is 33% better than last year’s comparable game, and helped NBC win the night by 16 shares in the demo.
For NBC, late spring now represents its peak period for major sporting events. Net, which this fall will be without both baseball or pro football for the first time in more than 35 years, also aired the Belmont Stakes on Saturday (the third leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown) as well as both the men’s and women’s final of the French Open, a Grand Slam tennis event. This Wednesday and Friday the NBA Finals continue on the network, with the U.S. Open, one of golf’s major tournaments, on tap for the weekend.
The Belmont’s 4.9/13 metered-market rating is a 44% improvement’s over last year on ABC. Race got a nice lead-in from the women’s French Open final (3.3/10 in overnights), which itself was up 43% year-to-year.
Also over the weekend, ABC concluded its coverage of hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals with the deciding Game 7 of the Colorado-New Jersey series.
According to Nielsen overnights, game’s 5.6/11 is the best for a Stanley Cup matchup in at least six years, with an even better ratings story possible today when Nielsen issues national numbers. The Alphabet had been down vs. last year’s finals entering Saturday’s game, primarily because two of last year’s contests went deep into overtime, thus producing heightened viewer interest and stronger ratings.