The Miami Heat have been a strong television draw this season, but they have also proven to be a powerful lead-in as well.
ABC earned a 3.6 overnight rating for Miami’s one-point loss to the Bulls on Sunday afternoon. Excluding Christmas Day games, the 3.6 is the second-highest overnight for an early afternoon NBA telecast on ABC (start time prior to 3 PM ET) since the network reacquired rights to the league in ’02.
The highest overnight for an early afternoon game on ABC is 3.9, set by Heat/Celtics in February.
Sunday’s game provided a strong lead-in for Lakers/Spurs. Though the game was frankly over in the first quarter, the Lakers’ dominant victory earned a 3.9 overnight, up 39% from last year (LAL/ORL: 2.8), and up 95% from 2009 (PHX/SAS: 2.0).
Last year’s Lakers/Magic game aired in an earlier window.
Again excluding Christmas Day games, the 3.9 is tied as the sixth-highest overnight, regardless of timeslot, for a regular season game on ABC since the network reacquired rights.
Eight of the ten NBA games on ABC this season have drawn at least a 3.0 overnight. To put that in perspective, just five telecasts hit that mark all of last season.
Overnights for 76ers/Pacers in March 2006, Spurs/Celtics in January 2004, and Timberwolves/Rockets in January 2004 not available.