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Ratings Roundup: 2018 NBA and NHL Conference Finals Make Network History

25/05/2018

Ratings Roundup: 2018 NBA and NHL Conference Finals Make Network History By Kristian Hernandez, Assistant Editor

Friday, May 25, 2018 - 8:00 am

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Ratings roundup is a rundown of ratings news from the past week and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week's edition, ESPN saw record-setting viewership of the NBA 2018 Eastern Conference Finals, TNT attained positives with their presentation of the Western Conference Finals, the popularity of both Conference Finals of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs increased every game, the Premier League gained more American interest this past season, the YES Network profited off of the Yankees recent play in May, Sunday Night Football on NBC received more accolades, and Top Rank Boxing on ESPN reached new heights after a particular fight.

ESPN Sees Big Numbers for NBA Eastern Conference Finals

The Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers to take a 3-2 series lead in Game 5 and delivered a 5.7 metered market rating. It was the highest-rated telecast of the night across television based on metered market ratings from Nielsen. This is now ESPN's highest-rated Conference Finals in six years, since Boston vs. Miami in 2012. The 2018 Eastern Conference Finals is averaging a 5.8 metered market rating. Overall, the 2018 NBA Playoffs on ESPN is averaging a 3.4 metered market rating, up 17% from last year. Wednesday's Game 5 peaked with a 7.0 rating from 10:45-11 p.m. ET. The top five local markets were Cleveland (21.3), Boston (14.4), Columbus (11.0), Providence (9.9) and New Orleans (8.9).

ESPN drew its highest-rated Conference Finals Game 4 in six years on Monday night. The game delivered a 6.1 metered market rating, up 45% from the NBA Western Conference Finals Game 4 (Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs, 4.2) in 2017, and up 15% from the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 that drew a 5.3 rating. Monday's telecast peaked with a 7.2 rating from 11-11:15 p.m. ET. The top five local markets were Cleveland (24.6), Boston (12.9), Columbus (12.1), New Orleans (10.4) and Providence (9.2). NBA Countdown on ESPN generated a 1.3 metered market rating and rose 8% from the corresponding Game 4 pre-game show last year.

Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN was the networks' second-highest rated Game 3 ever, according to Nielsen. The telecast drew a 5.1 metered market rating, up 11% from ESPN's Western Conference Finals Game 3 last year, and up 2% from 2017's edition. Despite Cleveland's dominating 30-point victory over Boston, the telecast peaked with a 5.7 metered market rating three times: 9:15-9:30 p.m. ET, 10-10:15 p.m. and 10:15-10:30 p.m. The top five local markets were Cleveland (22.1), Boston (11.9), Columbus (9.7), Dayton (8.2), and Providence (8.0).

Game 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN generated a 6.5 metered market rating, making it the highest-rated Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 since 2012. Compared to last year's Eastern Conference Finals Game 2, this matchup was up 71% It was also up 51% from ESPN's Western Conference Finals Game 2 in 2017 and peaked with an 8.0 metered market rating in the final quarter-hour - 10:45 p.m.-11 p.m. ET. In the Boston market, the game generated a 16.0 rating, making it the highest-rated NBA game on ESPN in the market since the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. In Cleveland, the telecast generated a 24.4 rating. The rest of the top five markets included Columbus (11.4), Providence (10.9), and San Francisco (9.0).

Sunday's NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 on ABC - the Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-83 - generated a 5.4 metered market rating, making it the highest-rated Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 since 2015, according to Nielsen. It was up 15% from the same matchup last year (4.7) and up 32% from 2016 when Cleveland vs. Toronto drew a 4.1. The broadcast peaked with a 6.5 rating from 5:30-5:45 p.m. Based on the metered market data, Game 1 was the highest-rated live sports event of the weekend.

NBA Western Conference Finals on TNT

Game 4 in California delivered the third most-watched program across all of television on Tuesday night, based on metered market delivery. Peaking with an average of 10.6 million viewers from 11:15-11:30 p.m. ET, the telecast averaged 8.3 million viewers for an increase of 43% over the 2017 WCF Game 4 and 18% vs. last year's ECF Game 4, based on Nielsen Fast Nationals. Overall, TNT's first four WCF telecasts have averaged 8.1 million viewers, up 27% over last year's Eastern Conference Finals airing on the network (Cavaliers/Celtics) and a gain of 24% vs. the 2017 WCF (Warriors/Spurs).

Game 3 of the series led to a 41-point blowout in favor of the Golden State Warriors, but still had a 4.6 rating with 7.80 million viewers on TNT. There was a 24% increase in ratings and 23% in viewership from Warriors-Spurs on ESPN last year, which aired on a Saturday night (3.7, 6.3M), but down a tick and 3% respectively from Warriors-Thunder on TNT in 2016 (4.7, 8.0M). 9.1 million viewers from 9:30-9:45 PM ET was the peak and is the second-most watched Game 3 of the West Finals since 2010 (Lakers-Suns: 8.5M). It ranks as the third-most watched game of the postseason.

NBA Western Conference Finals Game 2 earned a 4.6 rating and 7.50 million viewers on TNT, up 31% in ratings and 30% in viewership from Spurs-Warriors on ESPN last year (3.5, 5.8M) but down a tick and 1% respectively from Thunder-Warriors on TNT in 2016 (4.7, 7.57M). Compared to last year's conference final Game 2 on TNT, Cavaliers-Celtics on a Friday night, ratings increased 53% (from 3.0) and viewership 47% (from 5.1M). The game peaked with 8.7 million viewers from 10:45-11 PM ET, ranks as the second-most-watched Game 2 of the West Finals si
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2018/05/25/ratings-roundup-2018-nba-and-nh...
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