NBA Finals Coming Up Big for ABC

In spite of a lopsided Game 1, in which the Los Angeles Lakers blew out the Orlando Magic by a 25-point margin Thursday night (100-75), the NBA Finals thus far has put up some solid numbers for ABC.

The Lakers’ drubbing of Dwight Howard and the Magic drew 13 million viewers June 4, on par with the 13.4 million fans that watched the Lakers-Celtics opener a year ago. When compared to 9.2 million viewers who tuned in on June 7, 2007, for Game 1 of the Cavaliers-Spurs NBA Finals, this year’s tip-off improved by 41 percent.

Among viewers 18-49, Game 1 of the Lakers-Magic showdown drew a 4.1 rating, making it the most-watched opening game for the NBA Finals in five years.

ABC picked up the pace with Game 2 of the NBA Finals, delivering 14 million viewers Sunday night, per Nielsen fast nationals. As the Lakers went on to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, winning in OT by a 101-96 margin, ABC drew an audience that was 3.7 percent larger than the corresponding contest during the 2008 Lakers-Celtics championship.

The network also outscored CBS, NBC and Fox among viewers 18-49, garnering a 4.2 rating in the demo versus its competitors’ combined 4.0. Both games of the NBA Finals have been the most-watched show on TV for their respective nights.  

ABC’s coverage of the championship series continues from Orlando on Tuesday, June 9, at 8 p.m. EDT.