Miami's Game Seven victory over San Antonio on Thursday night drew the second highest overnight rating for the NBA Finals on ABC since the network took over broadcast of the Finals in 2003. Only Game Seven of the 2010 Finals between the Celtics and Lakers drew a higher overnight rating.
Thursday's 95-88 thriller drew a 17.7 overnight rating according to the Associated Press, meaning roughly 17.7 percent of all televisions in major markets were tuned into the Finals.
The series certainly merited the attention after an exciting back-and-forth series that included a thrilling overtime finish in Game Six on Tuesday. Game Seven was a perfect bow to the season.
By some metrics, Thursday's game actually surpassed that Lakers-Celtics Game Seven from three years ago, with Nielsen reporting the ratings peaked at a 22.6 rating as the game neared its conclusion. It certainly was a much more entertaining game than that Lakers-Celtics slogfest that was finally broken with a couple of clutch Metta World Peace 3-pointers.
It was also critical as the NBA gets set to renegotiate its TV deals next summer. The league makes much of its revenue off of TV rights deals and a strong showing on these metrics is a good bargaining chip for the league to show that interest and demand are high. It certainly helps sell ads for the next year.
Hopefully the 2013-14 season proves to be as exciting as this season and this series turned out to be.