NBA Update: Celtics/Lakers and Heat/Bulls Earn Strong Numbers For ABC, ESPN

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Even with college basketball starting to take center stage this week, the NBA attracted good numbers on ESPN and ABC.

Sunday’s Celtics/Lakers NBA regular season game drew a 2.6 final rating and 4.049 million viewers on ABC, up 86% in ratings and 93% in viewership from Magic/Suns last year (1.4, 2.101M), and up 8% and 6%, respectively, from Celtics/Cavaliers in 2010 (2.4, 3.808M).

The telecast ranks as the highest rated NBA game on NCAA ‘Selection Sunday’ since Knicks/Lakers on NBC in 2002 (3.2, 4.607M), a game that began after 6 PM ET.

Despite the increase, Celtics/Lakers ranks as the least-viewed NBA telecast of the season on ABC (nine telecasts). The previous low was 4.069 million for Bulls/Celtics in February.

So far this season, every NBA telecast on ABC has drawn at least a 2.6 rating and four million viewers, an impressive feat considering that four games drew lower numbers through the comparable point of last season.

Bulls/Heat Ranks Among Ten Most-Viewed NBA Games on ESPN: Opposite the NCAA Tournament ‘First Four’, Wednesday’s Heat/Bulls NBA regular season game drew a 2.2 U.S. rating and 3.224 million viewers — up 83% and 88%, respectively, from Mavericks/Warriors in a later timeslot last year (1.2, 1.719M).

The game ranks as the eighth-most viewed NBA regular season telecast on ESPN since the network resumed airing games in the 2002-03 season.

Ratings/Viewership For NBA on ABC
During the 2011-12 NBA season

Date Game Net Rating +/- Viewers (000) +/-
Sun., 12/25/11 Heat/Mavericks ABC
4.9
+7%
9,023
+4%
Bulls/Lakers ABC
5.6
-13%
11,014
-16%
Sun., 1/29/12 Bulls/Heat ABC
3.5
-19%
5,699
-19%
Sun., 2/12/12 Bulls/Celtics ABC
2.6
-26%
4,069
-28%
Sun., 2/19/12 Mavericks/Knicks ABC
3.8
5,916
Magic/Heat ABC
3.4
5,496
Sun., 3/4/12 Knicks/Celtics ABC
3.3
+10%
4,996
+5%
Heat/Lakers ABC
4.3
+34%
6,997
+37%
Sun., 3/11/12 Celtics/Lakers ABC
2.6
+86%
4,049
+93%

(Sunday/Wednesday numbers obtained from ESPN)

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