Fourth Game Of Nuggets-Lakers Dunks Most NBA Viewers Ever On Cable

The series is tight and the Nielsen records keep falling.

ESPN's coverage of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals in which the Denver Nuggets knotted their series with the Los Angeles Lakers netted a 6.9 rating, 6.75 million households and 9.88 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data. That made it the most-viewed National Basketball Association game ever on cable and the top program for the medium in 2009, according to officials at the total sports network.

It easily became ESPN's most-viewed basketball game ever --college or pro -- surpassing the first game of the Denver-LA series, which drew 8.1 million viewers on May 19.2

The fourth game telecast of Nuggets/Lakers outpaced the corresponding game in the Eastern Conference finals between Boston-Detroit in 2008 by 62% in viewers (6.09 million), 51% in households (4.47 million) and 50% in rating (4.6).

Through its 17 NBA playoff telecasts ESPN has averaged 4.43 viewers, up 16% over last season's 19 telecasts (3.82 million). The corresponding 3.3 million households represents a 12% jump from 2.95 million households last season, while the 3.4 rating average is up 10% (3.1 rating).
The Nuggets/Lakers game delivered a 21.3 rating in Denver, the highest-rated NBA game on ESPN or ABC ever locally (records date back to 2003). In L.A., the game posted a 16.1 rating, the highest-rated NBA playoff game on ESPN (back to 2003).

ESPN will telecast the pivotal Game 5 in the series from Staples Center at 9 p.m.(ET)