2003 NBA Finals 2003 NBA Finals

Finals ratings lowest in Nielsen history

Posted: Tuesday June 17, 2003 10:47 AM
Updated: Tuesday June 17, 2003 3:11 PM

NEW YORK (AP) -- The final ratings for the NBA Finals between San Antonio and New Jersey were the lowest since the Nielsen ratings service began using the current method 27 years ago.

The six games, all aired in prime time on ABC, drew a 6.5 with a 12 share.

The previous low came in 1981, when Boston and Houston drew a 6.7 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. This year's highest mark came in Game 6, when the Spurs won the series.

By contrast, last year's finals, between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Nets, had a 10.2 rating on NBC even though it went four games and was less competitive. That series, however, featured two of the game's biggest stars -- the Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

Star power appears to be a factor -- one of the highest-rated games ever was Michael Jordan's final game for Chicago against Utah in 1998. It drew a rating of 18.7, more than three times the overall rating for this year's series.

The Nets-Spurs series also was a defensive struggle with long scoring droughts and low shooting percentages by both teams.

The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs, whether they are in use. The share is the percentage of sets in use tuned to a particular program.

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