NBA Ratings: Bulls/Heat Game 1 Scores Biggest Pro Hoops Audience in Cable History

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals is watched by an average of 11.1 million viewers

Last Updated: May 16, 2011 @ 1:18 PM

NBA postseason ratings performance is going to be just fine without the Lakers and the Celtics.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals featuring the Chicago Bulls beating the Miami Heat on Sunday was the most viewed NBA game in cable history, drawing an average of 11.1 million viewers.

The ratings performance topped the 2003 NBA All Star Game, which featured Michael Jordan's last All Star appearance. That game scored an audience of 10.8 million viewers.

NBA ratings are on a three-year growth spurt and could spike even higher when the league championship series kicks off on the broadcast airwaves (ABC shows those games) in two weeks.

Here's TNT's full ratings press release:

TNT’s EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE OF GAME #1 OF THE NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS DELIVERS MOST-VIEWED GAME IN CABLE TELEVISION HISTORY

BULLS AND HEAT SET VIEWING RECORD WITH MORE THAN 11.1 MILLION TOTAL VIEWERS AND 6.2 OVERALL U.S. HH RATING

TNT’s exclusive live coverage of Game #1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals featuring the Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls was the most-viewed game in the history of cable television (based on Total Viewership) by delivering 11.1 million total viewers and a 6.2 U.S. HH rating. It is also the most-watched Game #1 of any Conference Finals on cable and was viewed by more people than the previous best of 10,829,000 Total Viewers for the 2003 NBA All-Star Game (Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game).

TNT's Game #1 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals is up over the network's coverage of Game #1 of the 2010 Western Conference Finals (Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers), delivering a 6.2 U.S. HH rating vs. a 4.4 U.S. HH rating (+41%),  11,109,000 total viewers  vs. 7,112,000 (+56%) and  7,166.000 households vs 5,012,000 (+43%).

To date, TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs is up significantly over the network’s coverage from last year, averaging a 3.1 U.S. HH Rating (+29%), 4,989,000 Total Viewers (+33%) and 3,630,000 Households (+30%). 

Overall, through 36 games, TNT’s 2011 NBA Playoffs coverage also has delivered strong double-digit growth across all key demos including:

  • A18-34   +42%   (1,644,000 vs. 1,160,000)
  • A18-49   +38%   (2,862,000 vs. 2,067,000)
  • A25-54   +34%   (2,566,000 vs. 1,919000)
  • M18-34   +40%   (1,146,000 vs.  819,000)
  • M18-49   +40%   (2,030,000 vs. 1,454,000)
  • M25-54   +35%   (1,799,000 vs. 1,332,000)

 

Game Two of TNT’s live exclusive coverage of the Eastern Conference Finals continues on Wednesday, May 18 at 8:30 p.m. ET with the NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com with Ernie Johnson (host), Charles Barkley (analyst), Kenny Smith (analyst) and Chris Webber (analyst) beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET. The night will conclude with Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai.

The NBA on TNT and NBA TV host 65 days of wall-to-wall coverage of the NBA Playoffs with 40+ games televised on TNT, and nearly 1500 hours of total coverage on NBA TV including 195 hours of live studio coverage.

About Turner Sports

Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is an industry leader in televised and online sports programming, airing championship level sporting events on TBS, TNT and truTV, and managing some of the most popular sports sites on the Internet. Turner Sports’ television line-up includes the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, NASCAR and professional golf. The company’s digital portfolio includes SI.com, NASCAR.COM, NCAA.com, PGATOUR.COM, GOLF.com and PGA.com, as well as an accompanying collection of mobile websites and connected device apps. Turner Sports and the NBA also jointly manage NBA Digital, which includes NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NBA Mobile, the NBA Game Time App, NBADLEAGUE.com and WNBA.com. 

Source: Nielsen Media Research. Game 1 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals on TNT based on Nielsen Fast National Data for May 15th 2011. Comparisons for the NBA Playoffs on TNT: Conference Finals Game 1 to-date; 36 games vs. 34 games (04/17/2011 – 05/15/2011) vs. (04/18/2010-5/16/ 2010).  Historical comparisons for NBA Round 1, 2 and Conference Finals through Cable only for seasons: 1984-2011.

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