2012 NBA Finals Down From Last Year, Posts Best Five-Game Average Since 2004

Posted by | June 22, 2012 at 7:34 PM

The shortest NBA Finals in three years was not surprisingly down from both last year and 2010.

The five-game Heat/Thunder 2012 NBA Finals averaged a 10.1 rating and 16.855 million viewers on ABC, down a tick in ratings and 3% in viewership from last year’s six-game Mavericks/Heat series (10.2, 17.339M), and down 5% and 7%, respectively, from the seven-game Lakers/Celtics series in 2010 (10.6, 18.144M).

With that said, the series ranks as the highest rated and most-viewed NBA Finals on ABC through five games since Lakers/Pistons in 2004 (11.5, 17.942M). Last year’s NBA Finals averaged a 9.6 rating and 16.084 million viewers through five games, and the 2010 series averaged a 9.6 and 16.2 million.

Overall, the Heat/Thunder series ranks as the fourth-most viewed NBA Finals on ABC since the network resumed airing games in the 2002-03 season, and the second-most viewed through five games.

This is the third straight year that the NBA Finals has averaged a double-digit rating — no small feat considering that six of the previous seven series averaged single-digits.

Among adults 18-49, the NBA Finals averaged a 7.1 rating — even with last year’s six-game average (7.1), and down 3% from the seven-game average in 2010 (7.3). The 7.1 is up 8% from last year’s five-game average (6.6), and up 9% from the five-game average in 2010 (6.5).

The NBA Finals averaged a higher rating in the adults 18-49 demo than any television program during the entire 2011-12 television season except for ‘Sunday Night Football’ on NBC (8.0). For some perspective, the FOX reality show ‘American Idol’ averaged a 6.2 rating in the demo during the TV season.

Compared to other sports, the NBA Finals just edged the 2010 Cardinals/Rangers World Series (10.0, 16.6M). Of course, the World Series lasted seven games. The five-game average for the World Series was an 8.3 and 14.3 million.

The NBA Finals also outdrew the five-game Bowl Championship Series on ESPN (8.4, 14.080M). Average ratings/viewership for the 2012 NCAA Tournament ‘Final Four’ were not available.

Local ratings for the NBA Finals, including averages in Seattle and Cleveland, can be found here.

Average Ratings/Viewership For the NBA Finals
Past decade

Year
Winner Loser # of Gms
Net
Rating
Viewers (000)
A18-49
2012 Heat Thunder
5
ABC
10.1
16,855
7.1
2011
Mavs Heat
6
ABC
10.2
17,339
7.1
2010
Lakers Celtics
7
ABC
10.6
18,144
7.3
2009
Lakers Magic
5
ABC
8.4
14,347
5.9
2008
Celtics Lakers
6
ABC
9.3
14,941
6.1
2007
Spurs Cavs
4
ABC
6.2
9,289
3.7
2006
Heat Mavs
6
ABC
8.5
12,972
5.3
2005
Spurs Pistons
7
ABC
8.2
12,544
5.1
2004
Pistons Lakers
5
ABC
11.5
17,942
7.9
2003
Spurs Nets
6
ABC
6.5
9,864
4.1
2002
Lakers Nets
4
NBC
10.2
15,678
6.7

(Series averages from ESPN Media Zone, ABC Media Net; TV season averages from deadline.com)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrea-Cavalli/757338131 Andrea Cavalli

    I’m sure that game 6 and 7 would’ve outdrawn both 2011 and 2010. I was curious to see how big the ratings would’ve been if there was a game 7. Oh well, maybe next year.