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Primetime Ratings: NBA Finals Generates Highest Overnight Rating Since 1998

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