NBC appears to have a competitive NBA Finals on its hands, and with it the potential for solid ratings.
Sunday’s Game 3, the first won by the Indiana Pacers, averaged a 13.0/22 in overnights, up 5% from last year’s 12.4/21. Because this Pacers-Lakers series has seen a larger than usual dropoff from overnights to nationals, the final rating for Game 3 is expected to slip behind last year’s 12.1/21 when Nielsen updates it today.
Friday’s Game 2 received a 9.9/20 national homes rating, up 3% from last year’s 9.6/19. Combined with Wednesday’s 10.5/18, that leaves the Peacock with a 10.2/19 national rating through the first two games (off 4% from last year’s 10.6/20).
Ratings typically pick up with the fourth and fifth games of competitive series, so Sunday’s win by the Pacers improves NBC’s chances of topping the ratings from last year — when the San Antonio Spurs sapped the finals of any drama by winning the first three games en route to a five-game victory over the New York Knicks.
Friday’s game two scored a 30.8/50 in Los Angeles and a 36.2/60 in Indianapolis. Sunday’s game three slipped in L.A. to a 27.7/50 but soared in Pacer-land to a 42.2/61.
Basketball helped NBC win Sunday in adults 18-49, but the net was no match for ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in the 9 o’clock hour. According to prelim nationals, the quizzer averaged an 8.0/20 in the key demo, topping the basketball game’s 6.5/16; that’s a reversal from a week ago, when Game 7 of the NBA’s Western Finals topped “Millionaire” by 9 shares in adults 18-49.