ESPN earned big numbers for the sixth game of the Heat/Celtics series.
Game 6 of the Heat/Celtics NBA Eastern Conference Finals drew an 8.2 overnight rating on ESPN Thursday night, up 49% from Magic/Celtics Game 6 on a Friday night in 2010 (5.5). There was no comparable game last year.
The 8.2 overnight is the highest on record for an NBA game on cable (dates back to 2003*). The previous record was set by Game 4 (7.9).
In addition, the 8.2 is the highest overnight for any NBA playoff game — excluding the NBA Finals — since Lakers/Kings Game 7 on NBC in 2002 (16.9).
Game 6 drew a 22.0 rating in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale — up 2% from Game 5 (21.5), and the highest rating ever for an NBA playoff game on ESPN in the market. With that said, the game drew a lower local rating than every game of last year’s Heat/Bulls series.
In Boston, Game 6 drew a 20.5 rating — up 8% from Game 5 (19.0), and the market’s second-highest rated game on ESPN.
* It is very likely that the 8.2 overnight is the highest ever for an NBA game on cable television, but ESPN’s records go back only to 2003.
(Thursday’s numbers from ESPN Media Zone)