They’re still nowhere close to the halcyon Nielsens of the Michael Jordan era, but ABC has to be pleased with ratings for the NBA Finals, which wrapped Tuesday night.
The Miami Heat’s 95-92 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in the sixth game of the best-of-seven series delivered a solid 6.5 rating/19 share in adults 18-49 and 15.71 million viewers overall — easily the best numbers for this series and the strongest demo delivery for any telecast this summer.
The 6.5 rating reps a 23% rise from last year’s Game 6 between the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons (5.3), a series that went to seven games.
And for the entire series, this year’s averages are slightly better than last year and the second best in the four years since ABC Sports began airing the championship series.
By comparison, the men’s college basketball championship game in April on CBS averaged a 6.2/16 in 18-49 and 17.54 million viewers overall.
ABC captured Tuesday in all key measures — including female demos — with the game netting a 26 share in men 18-49 and a 28 share in men 18-34.
Elsewhere on the night, the top draws opposite basketball were NBC’s combo of firstrun “Last Comic Standing” (3.5/10, 7.34m) and repeat “Law & Order: SVU” (3.2/9, 9.72m) and Fox’s 9 p.m. repeat of “House” (3.4/10, 9.03m).
At 10, CBS’ “Tuesday Night Book Club” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.09m) fell from its puny premiere score of a week earlier. Among firstrun CBS series telecasts, only a Friday seg of unscripted skein “The Cut” last summer has rated lower (0.9/3).
FX’s “Rescue Me” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.75m) was the night’s top cable program in key demos. Firefighter skein is on par with last year’s averages through four weeks.