With a six game viewership average of 17.28 million our polled viewers ended up being somewhat optimistic for NBA Finals viewership, with 20+ and 18-19 million being the top vote getters.
That 17.28 million viewership average this year is the best average for a six game series since 2000 (Lakers/Pacers), but cannot hold a candle to the three six game series in the Jordan Bulls second three peat.
via press release:
2011 NBA Finals on ABC: Second Most-Viewed Since 2004
Highest-Rated & Most-Viewed NBA Finals Game 6 Ever on ABC
The 2011 NBA Finals on ABC – with the Dallas Mavericks defeating the Miami Heat for the franchise’s first NBA championship – averaged 17,280,000 viewers, 11,725,000 household impressions and a 10.1 rating for six broadcasts to become the second most-viewed Finals since 2004, based on fast national data provided by Nielsen.
Based on fast nationals, last night’s decisive Game 6 delivered an average of 23,511,000 viewers, 15,190,000 households and a 13.1 rating to become the most-viewed Game 6 ever on ABC, and the most-viewed in 13 years. It is the 25th consecutive time The Finals have generated the highest-rated program of the night and also led ABC to win the night. The broadcast peaked with a 20.9 rating from 10:30-10:45 p.m. EST.
This year’s six-game series is up 33 percent in viewership (vs. 12,972,000), 27 percent in households (vs. 9,332,000) and 20 percent in rating (vs. 8.5) compared to the 2006 Finals, when these same two teams met in a six-game series.
While down slightly versus last year’s seven-game series between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers (10.6 rating; 12,152,000 households; 18,144,000 viewers), the 2011 Finals is up five percent in viewership (vs. 16,433,000 viewers and 11,167,000 households), and four percent in rating (vs. 9.7) over the first six games of the Celtics/Lakers series. The NBA Finals in 2004 between the Lakers/Pistons, a five-game series, averaged 17,942,000 viewers, 12,451,000 households and an 11.5 rating.