Ratings Roundup: NBA Finals Most-Watched Ever on ABC Through Five Games; Stanley Cup Clincher Is Third-Best Game 6 on Record

The 2015 NBA Finals (Warriors are up on Cavaliers 3-2) is the most-watched ever on ABC through five games, according to Fast Nationals from Nielsen. The series is averaging 19,215,000 viewers, which is up 25 percent from 15,373,000 viewers last year (Miami-San Antonio). Sunday’s Game 5 averaged 20,511,000 viewers (P2+), which is up 15 percent from 17,859,000 viewers for last year’s Game 5. It is also the most-watched NBA Finals Game 5 in more than a decade. Last night’s ABC broadcast peaked with an audience of 24,840,000 viewers from 10:30-11 p.m. ET. The NBA Finals propelled ABC to win the night for the 47th consecutive time across all of television (broadcast and cable) and across all key demos.

NBA Finals Game 5 generated 741,600 unique viewers on WatchESPN, which is the second-highest ever for an NBA game on the platform. Additionally, WatchESPN saw an average minute audience of 198,300, which is the third-highest ever for an NBA game on the platform…

…The preceding Thursday, Game 4 (the Warriors 103-82 victory in Cleveland) averaged 19.8 million viewers, the largest audience for a Game 4 on ABC in more than a decade.  The broadcast peaked on ABC with 23,407,000 viewers from 11:15-11:30 p.m. ET.  Additionally, Game 4 was up 34 percent from 14,796,000 viewers for last year’s Game 4. Game 4 also drew an 11.7 U.S. household rating, ABC’s highest-rated Game 4 in more than a decade.  The peak rating was a 13.6 from 11:15-11:30 p.m. The rating was up 27 percent from a 9.2 for last year’s Game 3.

NBA Countdown, ABC’s NBA pre-game show, averaged 6,002,000 viewers, up 20 percent from 4,984,000 viewers a year ago. The broadcast earned a 3.9 U.S. household rating, up 22 percent from a 3.2 for the Game 4 show in 2014…

…Last night’s Stanley Cup Final series-clinching Game 6 on NBC delivered at 5.6 metered market rating, the third-best for a Game 6 on record (since 1995) and NBC’s fourth-best NHL overnight ever. The 5.6 overnight for Game 6, in which the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 to win their third Stanley Cup in six years, trails only the 2010 Game 6 between the Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers (5.8) and the 2013 Game 6 between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins (5.7). Last night’s game is up 40% vs. the 2012 Game 6 between the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings (4.0).

Locally, the Chicago market delivered a 41.0 HH rating, its highest ever for a Blackhawks game, and a 57 share. The Chicago rating is the highest local rating for any market for a non-Game 7 on NBC. Tampa posted a 15.2 HH rating, its second-best ever on NBC…

…The preceding Saturday saw Game 5 of the series draw a 3.0 final rating and 5.3 million viewers on NBC, down 19% in ratings and 13% in viewership from last year’s Rangers/Kings clincher (3.7, 6.0M) and down 6% and 7%, respectively, from Bruins/Blackhawks in 2013 (3.2, 5.6M). (SMW)

…The U.S. Women’s National Team 0-0 draw with Sweden on Friday in its second of three FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP 2015 Group Stage matches in Winnipeg attracted 4.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched FIFA Women’s World Cup Group Stage match ever (supplanting Monday’s USA-Australia match), and the most-watched soccer match ever on FOX, displacing the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United which posted 2.6 million viewers by +73%, according to Nielsen. USA-Sweden is the fourth most-watched women’s soccer match of all time, trailing only the following Women’s World Cup matches: USA-China in 1999 (17,975,000); Japan-USA in 2011 (13,458,000); and Brazil-USA in 1999 (4,924,000). The USA-Sweden match posted an audience +36% compared to USA-Australia, the team’s first Group Stage match in this tournament (4.5 million vs. 3.3 million). The audience for USA-Sweden (4.5 million) is +137% better than the USA’s second FIFA Women’s World Cup Group Stage match on ESPN in 2011 (1.9 million viewers). Viewership for USA-Sweden peaked from 9:30-9:45 PM ET with 6.4 million viewers.

Based on the fast nationals, FOX placed first for the night in primetime among broadcast networks (4.9 million viewers from 8:00-10:00 PM ET), besting ABC and CBS (4.8 million viewers). FOX easily won the night across all key male and adult demographics including Adults 18-49.  The entire program posted 2.0 million viewers in the demo, and 2.2 million within primetime. The match gave FOX its best Friday in primetime since December when it televised the Pac-12 Football Championship Game.

Top 10 Markets for USA-Sweden: Richmond (5.6); Las Vegas (5.1); Milwaukee (5.0); Columbus (4.5); St. Louis (4.3); Washington, D.C.(4.2); Norfolk (4.2); New Orleans (4.2); Providence (4.2); and Dayton (4.2). Top Markets for both USA matches combined: Washington D.C. (4.3); Richmond (4.0); St. Louis (4.0); Baltimore (3.9); Hartford (3.8); Milwaukee (3.8); Providence (3.5); Kansas City (3.4); Dayton (3.3); Las Vegas (3.2); Los Angeles (3.2); Norfolk (3.2); and Philadelphia (3.2)…

…The Canadian women’s national team continues to break audience records at the FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP on CTV, TSN, and RDS. Preliminary overnight data from Numeris confirms that 2.3 million viewers watched Canada’s match against New Zealand, breaking the record for most-watched FIFA Women’s World Cup match ever, and winning Thursday as the most-watched program on Canadian television. The average audience for the game marked a 31% increase from the previous record, set on Saturday, June 6, when Canada recorded a 1-0 victory over China PR. Overall, 7.2 million unique Canadian viewers tuned in for the 0-0 draw between Canada and New Zealand, which took place in Edmonton on Thursday evening…

…On the golf front, CBS drew a 1.6 overnight rating for the final round of the PGA Tour FedEx St. Jude’s Classic, down from a 1.9 overnight last year. (SBD)

Meanwhile, NBC drew a 0.6 overnight for the final round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, which marks the fourth-best Sunday for a women’s major over the last two years. The 0.6 is up 94% from Golf Channel’s cable TV coverage last year (SBD)…

…Through June 9, YES Network was averaging 2.51 percent of New York-area homes for its Jeter-less New York Yankees telecasts, down 20% from last season (2.99) at this time and 2% from 2013 (a season that ended with YES’ lowest ratings in a decade). (Newsday)

Meanwhile, in Flushing, the Mets were averaging 2.27 percent of area homes on SNY through June 9, up about 19% from last season (1.63) but still trailing the Yankees (Newsday)…

…Regional MLB on FOX coverage earned a 1.6 overnight rating Saturday night, up 14% from the network’s fourth primetime telecast last year (1.4) but down 16% from the fourth such telecast in 2013 (1.9). (SMW)…

…NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Michigan drew 3.5 million viewers on FS1 Sunday afternoon, down 17% from last year (4.3M) and down 22% from 2013 (4.5M), both on TNT, and the least-watched edition of the race since at least 2000 (viewership prior to 2001 was not available). (SMW)…

…The X Games on ESPN (June 4-7) averaged 480,000 viewers, up 7% from last year (449,000 for June 5-8, 2014). ABC’s Sunday afternoon X Games coverage earned a 0.6 final rating and 939,000 viewers on ABC last Sunday afternoon, down 0.1 in ratings and 13% in viewership from last year (0.7, 1.1M), but up a tick and 39%, respectively, from comparable coverage in 2013, when the event aired in August (0.5, 675K). Saturday earned a 0.6 and 857,000, down a tick and 19%, from last year (0.7, 1.1M). ESPN’s high point was a 0.3 and 551,000 for its X Games coverage. (Awful Announcing and SMW).

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