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Lakers Deliver in the Ratings

Television: Game 7 victory outdraws even the Super Bowl in L.A. and becomes one of the highest rated for team.

June 04, 2002|LARRY STEWART | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Lakers are bigger in Los Angeles than the Super Bowl.

Their 112-106 victory over Sacramento in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday drew a 36.9 L.A. rating, which translates to nearly 5 million viewers in this market.

This year's Super Bowl, in which the New England Patriots upset the St. Louis Rams, 20-17, on Feb. 3, got a 36.4 L.A. rating.

Sunday's Laker game had a 60 share. The Super Bowl, because of an earlier start time, had a 61 share.

The 60 share may be an all-time Laker record, at least the highest in more than two decades. Keith Harris, the Lakers' executive director of multimedia marketing, could not find a higher share in his records.

And the 36.9 rating was the second-highest for a Laker telecast in L.A., according to Harris' records. The only higher rating was a 39.2 for Game 6 of the 2000 NBA Finals, in which the Lakers beat the Indiana Pacers in six games.

The next highest rating after the 36.9 for Sunday's game is a 35.7 for Game 5 of the 2001 NBA Finals, in which the Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers in five games.

The share for that game was a 58, and the share for Game 6 in 2000 was a 56. Shares are generally lower later in the evening, when more people are watching television, and those games started at 6 p.m., as opposed to Sunday's 4:30 start.

Nationally, Game 7 Sunday drew an overnight rating of 16.9 with a 27 share. Those are the highest overnight numbers for the non-NBA Finals in four years and also represent a 66% increase over the 10.2/16 overnight numbers for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals between Philadelphia and Milwaukee last year.

The last time a non-NBA Finals game got higher overnight numbers was in 1998, when Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals between Chicago and Indiana drew a 20.7/34.

During the fourth quarter and overtime on Sunday, the numbers peaked at 23.2/34.

Overnight ratings are obtained from the nation's 53 largest markets, covering 65% of the population. National ratings for Sunday's game won't be available until today.

A rating represents the percentage of all television households tuned into a particular program, and the share is the percentage of households where television is being watched.

So Sunday's game, according to Nielsen, was watched in 36.9% of all TV households in the L.A. market and 60% of those where television was being watched.

Since each rating point represents 53,542 homes in L.A., Sunday's game was watched in nearly 2 million homes.

The estimated 5 million viewers comes from figuring that there are an average of 2 1/2 viewers per household.

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