ESPN, TNT enjoy solid marks

Updated: June 3, 2004, 7:32 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Detroit Pistons' win over Indiana Pacers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals was the most-watched basketball game ever on ESPN.

TNT's coverage of Game 6 of the Western Conference finals between Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday was watched in 6.5 million households, the most ever for an NBA playoff game on cable.

Tuesday's game between the Pistons and Pacers, which earned a 5.0 rating, was seen in an average of more than 4.4 million households, breaking the previous record of 3.8 million households that watched this year's NCAA women's basketball championship game between Tennessee and Connecticut.

Each rating is equal to 883,000 households.

The ratings for the six games of the Eastern Conference finals averaged a 3.8, up 36 percent from last year's 2.8 for two games. The 26 playoff games broadcast by ESPN averaged a 2.7 rating, up 13 percent from the 2.4 for 20 games last season.

TNT's coverage of 43 playoff games got a 3.4 national cable rating, up 10 percent from last year's 3.1 -- when the cable channel aired 46 games. The six games of the Western Conference finals averaged a 6.3 rating, up 38 percent from the previous year's 4.6.

The cable rating is the percentage of all homes with cable service, whether or not televisions are in use. TNT is available in about 82 percent of households in the United States.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press