NBA Finals: Ratings Up, Viewership Down, For Game 2


After a decline in the overnights, Game 2 of the NBA Finals finished as the highest rated in seven years.

Thursday’s Mavericks/Heat Game 2 drew a 9.3 final rating and 15.520 million viewers on ABC, up 1% in ratings and down 1% in viewership compared to last year (BOS/LAL G2: 9.2, 15.718M), and up 13% and 10%, respectively, from 2009 (ORL/LAL G2: 8.2, 14.061M).

The game ranks as the highest rated Game 2 of the NBA Finals since 2004 (DET/LAL G2: 10.7), and the top Game 2 since 1999 that did not involve the Lakers (NY/SA G2: 9.6, NBC).

For some perspective, Heat/Mavericks Game 2 in 2006 drew an 8.0 and 12.410 million viewers. Cavaliers/Spurs Game 2 in 2007 (LeBron James‘ second NBA Finals game) drew a 5.6 and 8.551 million.

The 9.3 final rating for Game 2 marks a decline of just 11% from the 10.5 overnight, the smallest drop from the overnight to the final rating for any NBA Finals game since Heat/Mavericks Game 6 in 2006 (9%: 11.1 overnight, 10.1 final).

Game 2 drew a 6.5 rating among adults 18-49, matching both Game 1 on Tuesday night and last year’s Celtics/Lakers Game 2. Among women 18-34 and teens 12-17, Thursday’s game ranked as the highest rated Game 2 on ABC since the network acquired rights to the NBA in 2002.

Thursday’s game was the highest rated, most-viewed program of the night on broadcast, and the top program in all key adult demographics (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54). According to an ESPN release, this marks the the 21st straight NBA Finals game to finish as the highest rated program of the night on broadcast.

Through Game 2, the 2011 NBA Finals is averaging 15.347 million viewers on ABC, up 3% from last year (14.913M).

(Numbers from,, TV By the Numbers)

  • JakeFrankie

    I’m reading a lot of people think Sunday and Tuesday games will draw huge rating’s (or at least ONE will), Last Year’s Lakers/Celtics drew a 9.6 for game 3 which was on a Tuesday.

    Is a 10.0 rating possible for Sunday, Espically coming off the Epic comeback from the Mavericks, Series Tied at 1-1. Paulsen what did you think will happen in your opinion of course, Since anything is possible. Remember Early start time too.

    • Paulsen

      I think there’s a good chance Game 3 will be up from last year. Depending on the quality of the game, a 10.0 could be a possibility.

  • Jeffrey T.

    For all the talk about baseball television trouble, even for marquee events, it is interesting how the World Series ratings from last year (tie for record-low) are fairly comparable with this year’s NBA Finals (incredible media buzz) through two midweek broadcasts. Game 3 will be where the NBA will vault way ahead of MLB, as the basketball game is on highly-watched Sunday night, while the Series Game 3 was on a Saturday night. I still think the Series schedule could use some tweaking. It will never happen, but I would suggest a schedule that runs more like the regular season: eliminating the first travel day, playing five straight night, one travel day (make it Saturday), and them come back for Games 6 and 7 if necessary on Sunday and Monday nights. This would require a strange LCS schedule for deciding games, but I think well worth it.

    • JakeFrankie

      Just because some people are foolish enough to believe MLB is dieing, Is no reason to compare sports. MLB gets great local rating I keep saying it, There national tv ratings have been lower in previous year that doesn’t mean the sport is in bad shape. Getting a 8.5 is good news it’s still better the most shows during that time, It could be the worst rated. But MLB or NBA aren’t going to be getting 18.0’s for sports game in 2011 it’s not going to happen.

      If MLB was getting 0.8’s for regular season games on FOX and 3.0’s for WS games than I would say the sport is in trouble. But MLB is fine stop listening to morons who tell you MLB is dieing this is coming from a Huge NBA fan.

      Bbr345 as long as the games are close it will help the ratings even more.

    • Jlasoon

      I pretty much espoused the exact same thing in another sub-forum and was hammered  by many NBA fans. The reality is, Red Sox/Cards, Red Sox/Rockies, Yankees/Phillies, White Sox/Astros have all pretty much crushed whatever the NBA has had to offer. And the NBA has served up some pretty good finals over the last few years. What I want to see, just for the sake of TV ratings is a Cubs/Red Sox final (national following). And can we please get a game 7 World Series, we haven’t had one of those since 2001 I think.  

  • Bbr345

    game 3 is a LOCK to hit a 10.0 final rating. there is a ton of buzz coming off of game 2 and it’s a Sunday night. I say 19 million total viewers. How about you guys?