The Stanley Cup series-ender might not have led to ratings glory on Monday night, but the 2012 NBA playoffs have definitely given ESPN something to crow about.
This year's NBA playoffs yielded record numbers in both ratings and viewership for ESPN, with the Eastern Conference Finals becoming the network's highest-rated, most-viewed NBA series to date.
The Eastern Conference Finals averaged a 6.2 U.S. household rating, matching the ratings record for conference finals on cable and besting ESPN's coverage of the Western Conference Finals by 44 percent. In terms of total viewers, this year's Eastern Conference Finals drew 10,144,000 total viewers — a 46 percent jump from 2011.
Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals performed particularly well, racking up a 7.7 U.S. rating to become the highest-rated NBA game on cable. The game also set a cable record for an NBA game, amassing 13,356,000 viewers.
The Eastern Conference Finals helped push ESPN to ratings and viewership records for the playoffs overall. Over 21 games, ESPN averaged a 4.5 household coverage rating, a 25 percent leap over last year's playoffs, and was also up in total viewership, with an average 6,228,000 total viewers versus 4,975,000 for last year.