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NBA finals Heat-Thunder Game 1 draws big television ratings

Jun 13, 2012, 11:24 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One Getty Images

Oklahoma City and Miami are not big markets — Miami is 14th largest among NBA teams, Oklahoma City 28th.

But the NBA is a star-driven league — the names involved matter more than where the team is from. And with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant you knew that David Stern would be happy, that this was going to be a big ratings draw finals for the NBA.

Game 1 was — it got an 11.8 rating that is a 10 increase over last year’s Game 1 (Miami vs. Dallas), ESPN announced. It even beat the 2004 NBA finals Game 1, back when Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were still teammates and civil. Barely.

That is not Jordan era numbers, but it’s the best we’ve seen since then. (And we never may see Jordan era numbers again because of the fragmentation of media, the internet and all that. Different times, different media consumption.)

The game drew a massive 44.3 rating in Oklahoma City, the highest for an NBA game ever in the market. In Miami, the game generated a 30.5 rating.

The fifth highest rated market? Cleveland (17.8). I think those people liked how the game turned out.

  1. cakemixa - Jun 13, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    David Stern cackles and rubs his hands in glee.

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      Stern will do everything possible to make it go more than 4 games.

      • gmsingh - Jun 14, 2012 at 7:56 AM

        And really, when you think about it, don’t the Heat deserve first pick in the lottery too?

  2. shockexchange - Jun 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Tales of this battle will outlive the warriors involved. The one storyline noone is talking about is (i) the number of open jumpshots the Heat missed and (ii) the second and third shot attempts for OKC. Coupled with OKC’s “confidence of youth” ( ), it’s like climbing cold mountain.

  3. canehouse - Jun 13, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    The game actually drew a 44 rating in the Cleveland market… The Hate is strong with them… and that’s why they will always be the mistake by the lake!

  4. allmyteamsareterrible - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    The only people rooting for the Heat are the people in Miami and the people in Seattle. Everyone revels in watching the Heat lose. It is unfortunate, but they did it to themselves. People in America do not forget things easily. The slimy feeling we had when he did “The Decision”, and then the Miami Heat’s preseason celebration, were too much for most to deal with. It’s never going to change. Nothing Lebron or the Heat do will change the national perception of this team. Everyone enjoys watching the Heat lose, and they only have themselves to blame.

    • canehouse - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      the celebration and the decision were very poor choices… I and most South Floridians agree. I wonder if the decision and the celebration never happened… what would be the narrative? I have a feeling it would be a downsized version of the venom and hate from the country… but still prevelant enough to fuel message boards and blogs.

      • allmyteamsareterrible - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:20 PM

        If neither would have happened the public perception for this team would take a 180. I guarantee it. Instead of being a good vs. evil final, this would have the chance of being one of the great Finals match-ups and probably a prelude of things to come for 5-6 years.

        Honestly, the animosity from people outside of Ohio came directly from the decision and the celebration. Nobody would care that he left Cleveland for Miami, honestly most people would have expected it considering the difference between the two cities. It’s not what they did it’s how they did it. It’s not that they formed a new big 3 in Miami, it’s how they did it. It’s not that they can win titles, it’s that they told you they will win 9. I mean, few things turn people off more than arrogance by athletes and the decision and the celebration were the very embodiment of an athlete’s arrogance. Unfortunately, this will never change, people have begun to enjoy watching them lose and I fear that Miami will continue to supply this until people start to pity them. Which is worse? Pity or hatred?

  5. Chris Ross - Jun 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Of course it did. Superstars draw ratings, enough said really. Wade, Lebron, Durant, Westbrook, Harden. It doesn’t get much better than that for a final. Plus the storyline of a young team putting it together vs. the villainous Heat. Too good

  6. fanz928 - Jun 14, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    Heats is going to take game 2

    • gmsingh - Jun 14, 2012 at 7:58 AM

      Which one of the refs did you talk to?

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