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NBA Finals Go Out on Ratings High for ABC on Sunday

Despite going head to head for an hour in most of the country with the season finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” the NBA Finals went out strong Sunday for ABC, dominating the night once again and delivering this year’s top basketball overnight rating.

In Nielsen’s metered-markets, the San Antonio Spurs 104-87 victory over the Miami Heat averaged an 11.7 household rating, peaking with a 15.1 in the 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET quarter hour. The 11.7 is up 3% from last year’s 11.4 for Game 5 between the same teams (in a series that was decided in Game 6). It’s also easily the top overnight of these NBA Finals, with the previous four games ranging from a 10.2 to a 10.6.

The top local markets for Game 5 were San Antonio (42.6), Miami (27.6), Austin (22.0), Oklahoma City (17.7) and West Palm Beach (17.1).

On ABC’s stations from 8 to 11 p.m., the NBA Finals did a 6.0 rating/19 share in adults 18-49 and 15.6 million viewers overall. These numbers are expected to rise by roughly 20% in the nationals as the prelims don’t accurately reflect West Coast viewing; Game 2, also held on a Sunday and starting a little after 8 p.m. ET, went from a 5.0 demo rating to a 6.0 in the nationals, and from 12.55 million to 15.13 million in total viewers.

Ratings for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” were expected to be released later today, but the finale at 9 p.m. did a 4.0 household rating/7 share in Nielsen’s overnights.

The top broadcast entertainment series in 18-49 on Sunday were repeats of Fox’s “Family Guy” at 9 (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall) and 8:30 (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall), while tops in total viewers was CBS’ “60 Minutes” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall).

The night’s three Big Four series airing original episodes all delivered small numbers: NBC’s “Believe” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall for its finale) and “Crisis” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) and Fox’s “Enlisted” (0.4/2 in 18-49, 1.2 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 5.1/16; NBC and Fox, 0.8/3; CBS, 0.5/2.

In total viewers: ABC, 13.4 million; CBS, 4.3 million; NBC, 3.4 million; Fox, 1.8 million.

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