Ratings Roundup: NBA, NHL, Champions League Finals Draw Record Numbers

Game 1 of the NBA Finals on ABC delivered a 9.0 rating and 15.2 million viewers Tuesday night to become the highest-rated and most-viewed Game 1 of the Finals since 2004 (Pistons-Lakers: 9.8, 15.35 million). Miami’s win over Dallas was also the highest-rated program of the night. Game 1 was up 5% in ratings and 8% in viewers, versus the comparable game last year (Celtics-Lakers: 8.6, 14.1 million). Game 1 was also up 32% in viewers (11,514,000) and 15% in rating (7.8) from the 2006 NBA Finals, when the same two teams met…

…Despite concerns that the presence of a Canadian team would diminish ratings results, NBC’s coverage of the Vancouver Canucks’ victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals produced the best overnight rating for an NHL Game 1 in 12 years. The broadcast generated a 3.2 overnight rating/6 share, up 14% over last year’s Game 1 (Philadelphia-Chicago, 2.8/6) and the best Game 1 overnight since 1999 (Buffalo-Dallas, 3.7 on Fox). This is the first Stanley Cup Final featuring a Canadian team since the Ottawa Senators-Anaheim Ducks in 2007. The 3.2 overnight for last night’s game is 113% higher than the top game of the 2007 series (1.5/3 for Game 3). In addition, The game logged an astounding 25.5/39 in the Boston market, the highest-rated NHL game in Boston since at least 1995…

…The 2011 UEFA Champions League Final was the highest-rated and most-watched in U.S. history, with combined coverage on Fox and Fox Deportes generating a 2.1/6 rating/share and an audience of 4.2 million viewers nationally. This dwarfs the ratings and audience of a year ago by 75% (1.2) and 91% (2.2 million), respectively. The Fox over-the-air broadcast earned a 1.4/4 household rating/share, with an audience of 2.6 million viewers, up 40% in rating (from 1.0) and 63% in viewers (1.6 million) over last year. Simultaneously, Fox Deportes notched a 0.7/2 rating and an audience of 1.6 million, up 133% in rating (0.3) and 167% in viewers (600,000).

This is the seventh straight year that English-language viewing of the Champions League Final has increased in the U.S. Over the past 10 years, viewership has increased almost tenfold, from 264,000 viewers on ESPN in 2002 to 2.6 million on Fox this year…

…Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte, NC, earned a 4.5 final rating and 8.1 million viewers on Fox, up 13% in rating and 24% in viewership from last year (4.0, 6.547 million). This marks the highest rating for the Coca-Cola 600 since 2008 (4.7) and the largest audience since 2006 (8.365 million). The five-year high in viewership comes on the heels of the most-viewed spring Dover race in at least 10 years and the most-viewed Darlington race in three years…

…TNT rode the NBA Playoffs to the biggest month in cable history in May, averaging 3.6 million nightly viewers in primetime. TNT’s coverage of the 2011 NBA Playoffs ranks as the most-watched in cable history, averaging more than 5.5 million viewers…

…NBC’s early-round coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was up slightly going into the Finals. NBC averaged 1.93 million viewers for coverage of the first three rounds, up 2% from last year (1.89 million).


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