NBA Playoffs Shoot ESPN To Top Weekly Cable Ratings Spot


ESPN's coverage of the Miami Heat-Boston Celtics NBA playoff series shot the sports network to the top spot of last week's most viewed cable networks.

The record setting Heat-Celtics seven-game Eastern Conference Finals series helped ESPN average 4.7 million viewers for the week of June 4 to June 10, according to Nielsen. TNT's coverage of the Oklahoma City Thunder-San Antonio Spurs Western Conference Finals helped move TNT into second place with an average of 3.0 million viewers.

USA Network finished third with 2.4 million viewers, followed by History with 2.3 million viewers and Disney Channel 2.2 million watchers, according to Nielsen. Fox News (1.9 million viewers), A&E (1.6 million); TBS (1.6 million); FX (1.3 million) and HGTV (1.1 million) rounded out the top 10.

On a 24-hour basis, Disney Channel topped all networks, averaging 1.7 million viewers, followed by Nickelodeon, which averaged 1.6 million viewers. ESPN (1.4 million viewers); TNT (1.4 million) and Cartoon Network (1.3 million) completed the top 5 networks in the category.

On the kids front, Cartoon surged past Nickelodeon to finish second in the 6 to 11 viewer demo behind Disney Channel, marking the first time in a decade that Cartoon beat out Nick in the key kids demo.

ESPN and TNT's NBA playoffs coverage represented the top five most watched shows of the week, led by ESPN's June 9 Heat-Celtics Game 7 telecast, which drew 13.3 million viewers, a cable record for an NBA telecast. 

Most Watched Shows for The Week* 

1   6/9/2012         NBA Playoffs: Celtics/Heat                                           ESPN                                        13.3 million
2   6/7/2012         NBA Playoffs: Heat/Celtics                                           ESPN                                        11.0 million
3   6/5/2012         NBA Playoffs: Celtics/Heat                                           ESPN                                        10.2 million
4   6/6/2012         NBA Playoffs: Spurs/Thunder                                       TNT                                              9.4 million
5   6/4/2012         NBA Playoffs Thunder/Spurs                                        TNT                                              8.5 million
6   6/4/2012         Pawn Stars                                                                      History                                          5.8 million
7   6/9/2012         SportsCenter (Live)                                                        ESPN                                            5.7 million
8   6/5/2012         Rizzoli & Isles                                                                  TNT                                               5.6 million
9   6/10/2012       Sprint Cup Racing/Pocono                                           TNT                                               5.2 million
10 6/10/2012       True Blood                                                                       HBO                                              5.2 million

*Week of June 4 to June 10
Source: Nielsen