via ESPN press release:
Nuggets/Lakers Game 1 – ESPN’s Most-Viewed Basketball Telecast Ever
ESPN’s Highest-Rated & Most-Viewed Program of the Year
ESPN Conference Final Game 1 Audience Up 49 Percent
ESPN’s telecast of the NBA Western Conference Finals Game 1 between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday, May 19, at 9 p.m. ET earned a 5.8 , representing an average of 5,688,000 household impressions and 8,085,000 viewers (P2+) to become the network’s most-viewed basketball game ever (college or pro). This breaks the record set just last week – 5,306,000 households and 7,352,000 viewers for Houston/Los Angeles, Game 6 of the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals (May 14).
- The telecast is the network’s highest-rated and most-viewed program in the calendar year(since December 29, 2008), topping last week’s Game 6 from the Lakers/Rockets series (5.4 rating);
- The Nuggets/Lakers outpaced last year’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 between Detroit/Boston, up 49 percent in viewers (5,431,000), 35 percent in households (4,215,000)and 32 percent in rating (4.4);
- The Nuggets/Lakers game delivered a 16.1 rating in Denver, the highest-rated on ESPN or ABC ever locally (records date back to 2003). In L.A., the game posted a 13.2 rating, the highest-rated NBA Playoff game on ESPN (excluding The Finals, with records going back to 2003).
Coverage of the Western Conference Finals featuring the Nuggets/Lakers will continue with Game 2 Thursday, May 21, on ESPN at 9 p.m. Mike Breen will call the game with analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Doris Burke. The game will also be available via ESPN HD, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV. Kia NBA Shootaround will preview the game on ESPN at 8 p.m.