×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NBA Finals airball in ratings

Six-game series drew an average of about 9.6 mil

In case you missed it, the NBA Finals are over.

ABC’s first crack at pro basketball’s championship in 30 years ended Sunday, with the series between the San Antonio Spurs and New Jersey Nets finishing as the least-watched primetime Finals ever.

Reliable preliminary Nielsen nationals for Sunday’s game weren’t available Monday, but the Spurs’ series-clinching victory over the Nets figures to come in between 11 and 12 million viewers.

This means the six-game series will have drawn an average of about 9.6 million, a stunning dropoff of more than 35% from last year’s four-game Lakers-Nets series on NBC, which had ranked as the least-watched primetime NBA Finals ever (15.7 million).

The NBA Finals peaked with an average audience of 29 million for the Chicago-Utah series in 1998 (Michael Jordan’s final championship with the Bulls).

Sunday’s game, in which the underdog Nets led until the fourth quarter, delivered a series-best 46.6 household rating/65 share in San Antonio. It was virtually ignored in some of the top 25 markets, though, settling for less than a 10 overnight share in Boston, Minneapolis, Denver and Pittsburgh.

The overnight metered-market rating Sunday of 9.1/15 was down a steep 47% from the last Game 6 of the NBA Finals (17.3/28 for Lakers-Pacers in 2000 on NBC).

Basketball wasn’t the only sport to take a hit Sunday, as NBC’s coverage of golf’s U.S. Open (5.6/13 in overnights) was down 40% from last year’s 9.3/21 (with Tiger Woods winning). Event became a runaway victory for Jim Furyk, with Woods not among the top finishers.

Saturday’s coverage (5.3/13 in overnights) was off 17% year-to-year.

On the entertainment side Sunday, new CBS laffer “Charlie Lawrence” was D.O.A. (prelim 0.9/3 in adults 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall). It landed a distant fourth or lower in all key categories in its 8:30 slot, virtually matching the demo score of its lead-in, a repeat “Becker” (1.0/4).

Net didn’t have much confidence in the Nathan Lane comedy, opting to air it in the summer rather than during the traditional television season.

More TV

  • Pete Davidson Sits Out Final 'Saturday

    Pete Davidson Sits Out Final 'Saturday Night Live' Sketches of 2018

    Just hours after “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson posted a message on social media that said he “really [didn’t] want to be on this Earth anymore,” he was absent from the final 2018 live sketches of the late-night sketch comedy show. But although Davidson did not take part in the sketches or appear [...]

  • Pete Davidson photographed by Peggy Sirota

    Pete Davidson Posts Unsettling Message, Deletes Instagram

    UPDATED: “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson posted a disturbing message Saturday morning stating he doesn’t “want to be on this earth anymore,” then deleted his Instagram account. In the post, Davidson wrote, “I’m doing my best to stay here for you but i actually don’t know how much longer i can last. all [...]

  • Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor

    Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor Arrested for Plotting Sex With Minor

    Disney Channel has severed ties with “Andi Mack” actor Stoney Westmoreland following his arrest for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old. “Stoney Westmoreland, an actor working on the series ‘Andi Mack,’ was arrested in Salt Lake City today,” a Disney Channel spokesperson said in a statement Friday. “Given the nature of [...]

  • Russian Doll

    TV News Roundup: Natasha Lyonne's 'Russian Doll' Sets Netflix Premiere Date

    On Friday’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for “Russian Doll” and Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Brexit” film has a premiere date on HBO FIRST LOOKS Showtime has released a new teaser for the upcoming comedy series, “Black Monday,” which will premiere Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The series stars and is executive produced by Don [...]

  • Vanity Fair Review

    TV Review: 'Vanity Fair'

    There’s something comforting about the predictability of a period piece novel adaptation in the Masterpiece Theater tradition. Knowing the story, or even just the rhythms of the genre, there are rarely many surprises. The women will toss off witticisms and cry careful, pretty tears; the men will steel their jaws and declare their love, ideally [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content