The highly competitive Game 7 of the NBA Finals dunked an 18.2 overnight rating Thursday night, the best performance for an NBA game since 1998 when Michael Jordan was leading the Chicago Bulls over the Utah Jazz.
The June 17 telecast of Game 7, in which the Los Angeles Lakers edged the Boston Celtics 83-79 to retain their crown and Kobe Bryant was named series MVP, was the highest-rated NBA Finals game ever on ABC, eclipsing the 15.5 overnight mark for Game 5 of the 2004 Finals between the Lakers and Detroit Pistons. (ABC overnight records date back to 2003.)
Last night's exciting, if not artful, contest scored 32% higher than the sport's last Game 7 match-up, a 13.8 overnight when the San Antonio Spurs overcame the Pistons in 2005. The June 17 telecast peaked with a 23.7 rating from 11:45 p.m. to midnight (ET), according to Nielsen data.
The Finals propelled ABC to win the night in primetime for all seven nights of the series. The first six meetings between the NBA's two most decorated franchises -- with the win, the Lakers now have 16 titles, compared with 17 for the Celtics -- averaged a 9.7 national rating and 16.4 million watchers, the best since the six-game Pistons/Lakers Finals in 2004.
Fast nationals data is expected later this afternoon.
Locally, LA also took home the (purple and) gold: the DMA netted a 39.7 metered market rating, the highest ever for an NBA game there. Boston's 33.9 rating was ABC's second highest-rated game locally, trailing only the Celtics' championship-clinching victory over the Lakers in Game 6 of their 2008 encounter.