ESPN’s exclusive telecast of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 6 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics Thursday, May 13, at 8 p.m. ET earned a 6.6 rating and an average of 6,552,000 households and 8,983,000 viewers to become the network’s second most-viewed basketball game (college or pro). The telecast only trails last year’s Western Conference Final Game 4 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets (6.9 rating, 6,746,000 households and 9,833,000 viewers). The Cleveland/Boston telecast is ESPN’s highest-rated and most-viewed Conference Semifinal ever, surpassing last year’s Game 6 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets (5.4 rating, 5,306,000 households and 7,352,000 viewers).
Last night’s Game 6 is the third most-viewed program on ESPN in 2010 and the fourth most-viewed program on ad-supported cable among households and viewers. The telecast is the fifth most-viewed NBA Playoff game ever on cable among households and viewers. It was the highest-rated and most-viewed program of the night among M18-34, M18-49 and M25-54 on all networks (broadcast or cable). In addition to key male demos, ESPN won the night among P18-49 and P25-54.
The Cavs/Celtics game delivered a 29.4 rating in Cleveland, ESPN’s highest-rated NBA Playoff game ever in that market (records dating back to 2003);
In Boston, the game posted a 16.9 rating, ESPN’s highest-rated NBA Playoff game locally since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2008 (Boston/Detroit – 18.4 rating);
The Cavs/Celtics game was the highest-rated NBA Playoff game ever in Orlando (9.4) and Chicago (7.1) and was the highest-rated NBA Playoff game in New York (6.0) since 2004 (Detroit vs. Indiana, Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 – 6.3 rating).
ABC NBA Playoff Ratings Up 10 Percent
Through eight broadcasts, the NBA Playoffs on ABC are averaging a 3.3 rating, an increase of 10 percent compared to a 3.0 rating through the same number of games last season. The corresponding 5,013,000 viewers are up nine percent over last year’s 4,582,000 viewers and households are up eight percent (3,739,000 vs. 3,472,000). ESPN’s 14 telecasts have averaged 3,587,000 viewers, up four percent compared to last year’s 3,442,000 (at this time). ESPN’s 2,678,000 household impressions are up one percent (2,658,000 households last year) and the 2.7 household rating is equal to last postseason.
Conference Finals Coverage on ESPN
Exclusive coverage of the Eastern Conference Finals – the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic – will begin Sunday, May 16, at 3:30 p.m. on ABC. Mike Breen will call the Eastern Conference Finals with analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Doris Burke. ABC’s GMC NBA Countdown pregame show, with host Stuart Scott and analysts Magic Johnson, Jon Barry and Michael Wilbon, will preview the action at 3 p.m. Jim Durham will provide play-by-play for ESPN Radio (coverage begins at 2:35 p.m.) with Hall of Famer Dr. Jack Ramsay.
ESPN Radio will also broadcast the Western Conference Finals between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers, tipping off Monday, May 17, at 8 p.m. Kevin Calabro will describe the action with Hall of Famer Hubie Brown.