Lakers/Celtics Game 5 Tops 18 Million Viewers

Posted by | June 15, 2010 at 5:02 PM

For the first time in five years, over 18 million television viewers tuned into an NBA game.

The Celtics’ Game 5 win over the Lakers drew a 10.8/18 final rating and 18.7 million viewers on ABC Sunday night, up 35% in ratings and 32% in viewership from Lakers/Magic Game 5 last year (8.0, 14.2 mil), up 6% and 7%, respectively, from Celtics/Lakers Game 5 in 2008 (10.2, 17.4 mil), and up 19% and 30%, respectively, from Mavericks/Heat Game 5 in 2006 (9.1, 14.3 mil).

This marks the highest rated, most-viewed Game 5 of the NBA Finals since Lakers/Pistons in 2004 (13.8, 21.8 mil), and the top non-Olympic summer television program on any network since Pistons/Spurs Game 7 in 2005 (11.9, 19.0 mil).

Additionally, Game 5 stands as the eighth-most viewed NBA game of the past nine years, and the fifth-most viewed when series-clinching games are excluded. Viewership prior to 2001 was not available.

Overall, Game 5 is the fourth-highest rated, fourth most-viewed NBA game on ABC since the network acquired the rights in 2002.

In the key adults 18-49 demographic, Lakers/Celtics drew a 7.2 rating — up 26% from last year (5.7), but down a tick from 2008 (7.3). This is the first time any game of the NBA Finals has had a decline in adults 18-49 compared to 2008.

Sunday’s game was the top primetime program of the week in ratings, viewers and the adults 18-49 demographic, followed by Game 4 (16.4 mil) and Game 3 (16.0 mil). Saturday’s USA/England World Cup match drew 17.1 million viewers on ABC (13.0 mil) and Univision (4.1 mil), but aired during the afternoon.

Game 5 drew a 27.5/49 in Los Angeles, down from Games 3 (28.0) and 4 (28.3). In Boston, the game drew a 29.7/44, a series high. The game drew at least a 12.0 rating in four other top 10 markets: Atlanta (14.7/23), Houston (13.1/22), Washington, D.C (12.7/21) and the Bay Area (12.0/27).

Through five games, ABC is averaging a 9.6 rating and 16.2 million viewers for the 2010 NBA Finals, up 14% in ratings and 13% in viewership from last year (8.4, 14.3 mil), and up 7% and 11%, respectively, from 2008 (9.0, 14.6 mil). The series is also averaging a 6.5 rating among adults 18-49.

To put the numbers in perspective, the NBA Finals still trails the 2009 World Series, which averaged an 11.4 rating and 18.7 million viewers through five games. However, among adults 18-49, the Lakers/Celtics series tops Yankees/Phillies, 6.5 to 6.0.

Ratings For Game 5 of the NBA Finals Since 1995 (Viewership Since ’01, Adults 18-49 Rating Since ’03)





















Year Date Game # Net Rating Viewers A18-49
2010 Sun., 6/13/10 Lakers/Celtics 5 ABC
10.8
18,654
7.2
2009 Sun., 6/14/09 Lakers/Magic 5 ABC
8.0
14,171
5.7
2008 Sun., 6/15/08 Celtics/Lakers 5 ABC
10.2
17,394
7.3
2007
no game
2006 Sun., 6/18/06 Mavericks/Heat 5 ABC
9.1
14,318
5.9
2005 Sun., 6/19/05 Spurs/Pistons 5 ABC
8.8
13,471
5.3
2004
Tue., 6/15/04
Lakers/Pistons 5 ABC
13.8
21,843
9.4
2003 Fri., 6/13/03 Spurs/Nets 5 ABC
6.2
9,308
3.8
2002
no game
2001 Fri., 6/15/01 Lakers/76ers 5 NBC
11.2
17,356
2000 Fri., 6/16/00 Lakers/Pacers 5 NBC
10.0
1999 Fri., 6/25/99 Spurs/Knicks 5 NBC
11.0
1998 Fri., 6/12/98 Jazz/Bulls 5 NBC
19.0
1997 Wed., 6/11/97 Bulls/Jazz 5 NBC
20.1
1996 Fri., 6/14/96 Bulls/Supersonics 5 NBC
17.2
1995
no game

(TV By The Numbers 1, 2; pifeedback.com)