Game 5 of the 2011 NBA Finals was again down from last year, but the game drew one of the highest overnights ever for the NBA on ABC.
Thursday’s Game 5 between the Heat and Mavericks earned a 12.6 overnight rating on ABC, down 2% from last year (LAL/BOS G5: 12.8), but up 34% from 2009 (LAL/ORL G5: 9.4).
The 12.6 overnight is the second-highest for a Game 5 in the NBA Finals since 2004 (LAL/DET G5: 15.4), and the highest for Game 5 of a non-Lakers NBA Finals since 1998 (UTA/CHI G5: 20.6).
For some perspective, Mavericks/Heat Game 5 in 2006 drew a 10.2 overnight.
Game 5 drew the seventh-highest overnight for an NBA game on ABC since the network reacquired rights to the league in 2002, and the third-highest when series-clinching games are excluded.
Since the current scheduling format began in 2004, final ratings for Game 5 of the NBA Finals have declined between 10% and 17% from the overnight, putting Thursday’s game on pace to finish in the 10.5-11.2 range.
Game 5 drew a 32.7 rating in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, down 4% from Tuesday’s Game 4 (34.2), up 16% from Game 5 in 2006 (28.3).
The game drew a 31.9 in Dallas-Ft. Worth, up 5% from Game 4 (30.5), but down 11% from 2006 (36.0). By comparison, Game 5 of last year’s Giants/Rangers World Series drew a 31.3.
This is the first time all series that the NBA Finals has managed to draw a higher rating in Dallas than last year’s World Series. Every single game of the series has trailed the 2006 NBA Finals.
(This year’s numbers from espnmediazone3.com)