SAN ANTONIO, TX – MAY 06: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates a shot against the San Antonio Spurs during Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 6, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

It’s been an excellent week for NBA ratings. ESPN announced Tuesday that the debut edition of NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC this past weekend, which saw the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-83 (in the Cavs’ first game after David Blatt’s firing Friday)  “delivered the most-watched and highest-rated non-Christmas game of the regular season across all networks,” and NBA TV also announced Tuesday that the Golden State Warriors’ 120-90 destruction of the San Antonio Spurs Monday night drew the best overnight ranking in the history of the network, even surpassing the playoffs. First, from ESPN’s release, here’s what ABC managed to pull for Bulls-Cavs Saturday:

The broadcast, which saw the Chicago Bulls defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-83, averaged nearly four million viewers (3,916,000, p2+), peaking with 4,534,000 viewers (p2+) from 10:45-11 p.m. ET. It generated a 2.4 U.S. household rating.

NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC propelled the network to win the night across prime-time broadcast and cable television on Saturday in all key adult and male demos, including 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.

NBA Countdown, which preceded the game at 8 p.m., averaged 2,437,000 viewers (p2+) and a 1.6 U.S. household rating. In both metrics this is the best for a regular-season, non-Christmas NBA Countdown show since March 11, 2012.

And here’s what Turner’s Anthony Morreale passed along on NBA TV’s performance Monday:

Last night’s Spurs vs. Warriors telecast on NBA TV delivered a 1.2 HH overnight rating, the highest-ever metered market rating for the network, including playoffs.

The Spurs vs. Warriors telecast on NBA TV delivered the highest-rated sports program of the night.

NBA TV’s Spurs vs. Warriors  telecast peaked with a 1.5 HH overnight rating from 11:15-11:30 p.m. ET.

Both of those numbers are impressive, but in different ways. ABC pulled in the higher raw numbers and did very well to win the night in prime time, and that reinforces that the NBA is an important piece for them. They should be in good shape going forward, too, as this coming Saturday’s game is a strong matchup between San Antonio and Cleveland. (ESPN will also be happy, as they have two of these big-draw teams in midweek games: they’re broadcasting a Houston-San Antonio/Golden State-Dallas doubleheader Wednesday night.) Meanwhile, it’s quite remarkable to see NBA TV pull in its best-ever rating for a 30-point win in the regular season, but that says a lot about the appeal of these Warriors and how the Spurs were supposed to be their toughest test. The overall takeaway is that the NBA is doing very well for its broadcast partners at the moment, and that trend seems likely to continue given all the intriguing storylines and matchups ahead.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.

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