NBA Finals games measure up for ABC

Was network's second-most-watched hoops championship

The NBA Finals ended Sunday night and gave ABC the second-most-watched basketball championships in the past five years.

On average, the five-game series between the victorious Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic nearly matched last year's Lakers-Celtics six-game matchup. Last year's championship series, won by Boston, stands as the biggest NBA Finals since 2004.

In total viewers, and with Sunday's game numbers considered preliminary and expected to rise, the NBA games averaged 14.3 million viewers and a 5.8 rating among adults 18-49 (about 95% of last year's ratings in both measurements).

The games represent the most-watched and highest-rated TV telecasts since the end of the broadcast season in May.

Sports also boosted NBC last weekend, with Friday night's deciding Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals becoming the most-watched pro hockey game in 36 years.

Friday's game drew 8 million viewers. That's modest for a football or basketball playoff, but for hockey in the U.S. it's a number not matched since a 1973 contest between Montreal and Chicago (which drew 9.4 million).

Overall, the series between the winning Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings averaged 5.6 million viewers for five games on NBC, the best showing since 2002 (which aired for three games on ABC). NBC won Friday in the adult demo as well, averaging a 3.2 rating.
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