Finally tallies of the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals:
– The five game series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic drew 14.3 million viewers for ABC, down 4 percent from last year’s Lakers-Celtics series. Game 5 drew fewer viewers than Game 4 did, with only 14.2 million viewers tuning in.
– Among ratings, it is the lowest-rated NBA Finals since 1981 and the lowest featuring the Lakers since 1980 – when the Finals were being tape-delayed for late night airings on CBS.
– Still, the series drew more viewers than most prime-time shows and marked an significant ratings increase from 2007’s Spurs-Cavilers series.
– The Lakers won their 15th NBA title in franchise history, and coach Phil Jackson won his 10th NBA championship – the most of any coach in professional sports.
– As for the Stanley Cup Finals, the series went the gamut to Game 7 with the Pittsburgh Penguins beating the Red Wings 2-1 to win their third Stanley Cup. The game drew close to 8 million viewers – the most for a Stanley Cup Final game since 1973, when the Montreal Canadiens beat the Chicago Blackhawks at Chicago Stadium (in an afternoon game on CBS) to win the Cup. That game drew 9.4 million viewers.
– For the entire series, the Stanley Cup Finals drew 4.9 million viewers on both NBC and Versus, with NBC drawing 5.6 million for their airings of the Cup, the highest for any broadcast since 2002, when Red Wings-Hurricanes aired on ABC.
– NBC is in talks to expand its current deal with the NHL until 2011. With one of its up-and-coming stars winning the Cup (Sidney Crosby), it makes the package a little more attractive. NBC currently is not paying a license fee.