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Old 06-14-2011, 08:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
jeffb
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Thumbs up NBA ratings for the finals way up

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A year after building a superteam meant to win a championship at the first try, the Heat has become basketballís version of the New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys ó a cultural juggernaut that polarizes fans and brings in bumper ratings.

Sundayís Game 6 pulled in almost 23 million viewers, 31% more than last yearís marquee Game 6 matchup between the Los Angeles and Boston Celtics, according to Nielsen Co. data. (The 2010 final went seven games.)

Itís clear most were tuning in to watch the Heat: In the two months of the playoffs, the Heat were mentioned about 330,000 times on such consumer media sites as Facebook and Twitter, as well as on blogs and message boards, said Nielsen. That compares with 140,000 mentions of the Dallas Mavericks.

On Monday, the day after the Mavs won the championship, the Heat had about 18,500 mentions, compared with roughly 13,500 for Dallas. Miamiís LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were mentioned about 32,000 times, while Dallas players Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry were mentioned just over 16,000 times.

The three most-watched series of this yearís playoffs all featured the Heat: the NBA Finals; the Eastern Conference Finals, against the Chicago Bulls; and the conference semifinals, against the Boston Celtics. Those series were boosted by matchups with big-market teams from Boston and Chicago, but even the Heatís first-round five-game downing of the Philadelphia 76ers outstripped other tie-ups, with the exception of the Celtics against the New York Knicks and the Lakersí closely fought six-game series against the New Orleans Hornets.
Miami Heat quest fuels bumper NBA ratings SportsWatch - MarketWatch
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