The allure of the Miami Heat is still alive and well. The Heat's Game 7 win over the Indians Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday night drew an impressive 7.1 overnight rating and 11.5 million viewers. That rating and viewership total propelled the game to the status of third most viewed and highest rated program in TNT history.
The game was the most watched and highest rated NBA game on TNT of all-time, and also the most watched and highest rated NBA game of this season. Game 7 also earned a mind-blowing 31.7 rating in Miami, and a 21.9 rating in Indianapolis. Not to be outdone, the post-game airing of Inside the NBA picked up a 3.3 overnight, its highest rating in two years.
In total, the Eastern Conference Finals averaged 8.4 million viewers, which was up 8% from TNT's airing last year of the Thunder-Spurs matchup in the Western Conference Finals. The 5.2 rating was also slightly up compared to last year's 5.0.
Now, it's time for ESPN to indulge in some of the Heat-based ratings bonanza. The Western Conference Finals on ESPN and ABC this year was a ratings flop, and fingers had to be crossed in Bristol that the Pacers wouldn't pull out Game 7 to create an unappetizing Indiana-San Antonio final. With LeBron James and the Heat winning the East, ESPN at least has a nice chance at making it four straight FInals averaging a 10.0 rating on ABC after five straight years under the double digit mark.