Ratings Roundup: TNT Swishes Most-Watched NBA Game in Cable History with Bulls-Heat Opener

TNT continues to topple ratings records during this year’s NBA Playoffs. The network’s telecast of Game 1 of the Bulls-Heat Eastern Conference Finals series was the most-viewed NBA game in the history of cable television (based on total viewership), delivering 11.1 million total viewers and a 6.2 U.S. HH rating. It is also the most-watched Game 1 of any Conference Finals on cable. The previous record was set during the 2003 NBA All-Star Game, when Michael Jordan’s final All-Star appearance drew 10,829,000 total viewers. To date, TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs is up significantly over the network’s coverage last year, averaging a 3.1 U.S. HH rating (up 29%), 4,989,000 total viewers (33%) and 3,630,000 households (30%).

While that Sunday-night matchup put up monumental numbers, ABC saw a drop in its Sunday-afternoon coverage compared with last year. The network drew a 5.1 overnight rating for Game 7 between the Grizzlies and Thunder, down 7% from last year (Celtics-Magic G1: 5.5). Game 7 was the first NBA playoff game on ABC this season to have a decline from last year. Though off from last year, the game drew the fourth-highest overnight of the playoffs on ABC (nine telecasts)…

…Fox had a slight increase in overnight ratings for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Dover. The NASCAR Sprint Cup FedEx 400 drew a 3.8 overnight rating Sunday afternoon, up 6% from last year (3.6). The 3.8 is the highest for the race since 2008’s 4.2…

…The 2011 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series season, which wrapped up last weekend in Las Vegas, was the highest rated in the five-year history of Speed broadcasts of the events. Eight live race broadcasts (Speed aired six in 2010) notched a 0.27 average HH rating (210,000 HH impressions). Along with a solid rating for the Las Vegas finale, which enjoyed a 28% increase in HH impressions (0.23 to 0.18) over the previous season, this year’s 331,000 impressions for the annual Daytona event were the network’s most-ever HH impressions for an AMA Supercross race.