The 2011 NBA Finals Game 6 on ABC – in which the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat 105-95 to win the franchise’s first NBA championship – generated a 15.0 overnight rating, the highest-rated Game 6 ever on the network (ESPN reacquired rights to the league in 2002-03), and the highest in 11 years, according to Nielsen. Last night’s Game 6 was the highest-rated program of the night in prime time, propelling ABC to win the night among households. It is the 25th consecutive time The Finals have generated the highest-rated program of the night.
The 15.0 overnight rating was up 35 percent compared to an 11.1 overnight rating for Game 6 of the 2006 Finals, when these same two teams met in The Finals. The overnight rating for last night’s broadcast was an increase of 22 percent over a 12.3 overnight rating for Game 6 last year between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.
Last night’s Game 6 generated the third highest overnight rating for an NBA game on ABC, trailing only last year’s Game 7 (18.2 overnight rating, Lakers/Celtics) and Game 5 of the 2004 NBA Finals (15.5 overnight rating, Lakers/Pistons).
The game peaked with a 20.9 rating from 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET. Game 6 netted the highest-rated metered market rating ever for an NBA game in both markets (records through 2002-03) with a 39.8 in Dallas and a 36.2 in Miami.