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NBA Finals opener gives NBC a ratings bounce

Highest hoopcast ever for pre-game 4

The Utah Jazz-Chicago Bulls NBA championship series is off to a sizzling start, with the 14th-highest Nielsens in NBA history and the highest ever for any hoopcast earlier than a fourth game of a playoff series.

The overtime Jazz victory scored an 18.0 rating, 32 share, up 14% from last year’s Bulls-Jazz game one and 7% ahead of the previous game-one record, a 16.8 rating achieved in both 1993 (Chicago-Phoenix) and 1996 (Chicago-Seattle).

NBC estimates 53.3 million viewers watched at least some of the Wednesday hoopcast.

The game did exceptionally well in the teams’ home markets — a 56.1/75 in Salt Lake City and a 47.2/67 in Chicago.

With that basketball bounce in its numbers, NBC won the night by 8 shares in homes and 10 shares in adults 18-49.

Each household rating point represents an estimated 980,000 homes, or 1% of the country’s TV homes. A share is the same sort of percentage, except it’s measured against only the homes in which TV is being watched during the timeslot involved.