According to Ed Sherman on his Sherman Report blog, Game 5 of the Chicago Bulls-Miami Heat NBA playoff series drew a surprisingly strong 8.9 household rating locally for TNT, despite the Bulls being down three games to one against the Heat and getting blown out in Game 4 and an early starting time in prime access (6 p.m. local time.) The game was close and the Bulls lead in the second and third quarters.
The Bulls lost, and were eliminated from the playoffs.
The team has been without Derrick Rose (remember him?) this season, and ratings for regular-season Bulls games suffered as a result as casual fans tuned out. But some of them returned to see the Bulls in the playoffs, as the team beat the odds and became a cinderella team of sorts.
The huge number Wednesday night – even when most expected the team’s playoff run to end – goes to show you how loyal Chicago sports fans are to their teams.
The Bulls even topped Game 1 of the Detroit Red Wings – Chicago Blackhawks playoff semifinal, which did a just-as-strong 8.1 household rating on NBC Sports Network. However, the Blackhawks have outdrawn the Bulls at times during the regular season and their ratings are poised to increase if their Stanley Cup run continues.
While numbers for the other programming wasn’t available, rest assured both the Bulls and the Blackhawks outdrew the final performance show of American Idol, given the rating freefall its in this season and the singing competition series hasn’t resonated with Chicago viewers throughout its run, especially after hometown favorite Jennifer Hudson’s controversial elimination in 2004.