Ratings predictions for the weekend in 7s and car racing. How will a game of 7 of the Celtics-Heat and Rangers-Hurricans perform?
Can Celtics-Hit live up to the previous conference’s final seventh level?
There’s the 7s and then there’s the Conference Finals (or LCS) 7s game, usually the most watched game of any post-season outside of the actual tournament series. Outside of the NBA Finals, the four largest audiences in the NBA in the past 20 seasons—and five of the first seven—have been the conference’s seventh final game. There have been only ten totals over the past twenty-five years, and viewers have averaged at least 11 million viewers (the Pistons Heat in 2005 had only 9.15 million viewers).
Besides the obvious stakes, this Game 7s game has largely featured all-time greats. Of the ten in the last quarter century, eight have been involved in James, Carrie, copy print or Michael Jordan – can be said (along with Magic Johnson And the Larry birdThe largest singles draw in NBA history.
There are no such draws in this year’s Celtics-Heat series, a match that in five matches lacked any kind of drama. Game 6 was the first in the series in which no team advanced by up to 20 points. There are stars, but one has to be a sports fan to know them. The kind of stars that really move the needle are the people known by the “supermodel” — not just people who watch televised games nationally, but people who might only watch one or two games a year (even if it is). Although it is wonderful, Jason Tatum And the Jimmy Butler Not close to that level, at least not yet.
The bets alone will make Celtics-Heat the most-watched game of this year’s playoffs. If the Pistons-Heats could average 9.1 million in 2005 – arguably the low point of the modern NBA on television – the Celtics-Heats would have no problem getting into the ten-million range. After two years in which the NBA Finals struggled to cross the ten million mark, it’s no small feat.
With that said, don’t expect viewership to match that of the previous conference’s final Game 7s. Four years ago, the NBA was fortunate to have seven games in the Conference Finals, one featuring Curry and one featuring James. The first averaged 14.9 million and the second 13.6 million, the second and third largest audience in cable history. The record was set two years ago by Thunder-Warriors Game 7, which averaged 16.0 million. Even in the age of getting out of the house, Sunday’s Celtics Heat 7 game is unlikely to reach such heights.
Few were expecting Miami to pull off a Game 6 win on Friday night, so just hitting the unexpected Game 7 is a league win. No viewing records will be set on Sunday, but even the relatively low game number 7 will look solid in the course of the past two years (and a fairly soft final round of conference).
NBA Eastern Conference Finals – Game 7: Heat-Celtics (8:40p Sun ESPN). Prediction: 5.7, 10.93 million viewers.
Will Rangers-Hurricanes 7 hit a record high?
ESPN is offering back-to-back nights of Game 7s over Memorial Day weekend, with the Rangers-Hurricanes taking center stage on Monday night. Not all 7s are made equal. The seventh match between Calgary and Edmonton would have been great and probably would have drawn well. The seventh game that New York is involved in has the potential to reach heights rarely seen in an NHL game on cable.
Excluding the Stanley Cup Final, only three NHL games by cable topped the three million viewer mark during NBCSN’s 15-year era. Two of them were Conference Finals 7s (2014 Kings-Blackhawks: 4.14M; 2015 Lightning-Rangers: 3.29M) and the other was the 2013 Red Wings-Blackhawks semifinals (3.35 million). There are some similarities between the 2013 postseason version and the current version, especially the late start compared to the NBA.
For years, the Stanley Cup playoffs started earlier than their NBA counterparts, which meant that the biggest post-season games were taking place on nights occupied by NBA players. This year, as in 2013, is an exception. The NHL playoffs did not begin until the NBA was already in the second round. As a result, the biggest games of the NHL season happen just as the NBA enters a post-season point where games are few and far between. Just as in 2013, the fast-paced finale of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA means that NHL’s Game 7 has its own sports television.
Can viewership reach the 2013 level of 3.35 million? Given the lack of competition and the out-of-home factor, this might seem somewhat likely. It remains to be seen how effective outdoor viewing on Memorial Day will be. Given his influence on the Easter show, four million may not be out of the question.
NHL Eastern Conference Game 7 Semifinals: Rangers-Hurricanes (8:00 p.m. Mon ESPN). Prediction: 1.7, 3.59 m.
How will F1, IndyCar and NASCAR rank on the biggest day of racing?
Entering into the biggest motorsport weekend of the year on American television, it’s worth keeping an eye on the state of play. Formula 1 is the ultimate in sports media ball, due to its high ratings on ESPN, the much-acclaimed Netflix documentary series, and its successful debut at the Miami Grand Prix. Not since NASCAR in the mid-2000s has a racing series been the subject of so many trend pieces. NASCAR still outperforms F1 in overall viewership (and IndyCar may be ahead, too, given its extensive TV presence), but F1 has overtaken NASCAR in major adult 18-49 and 18-34 demographics multiple times this season.
As much as F1 has grown in recent years, Memorial Day weekend numbers offer a bit of a reality check. NASCAR and IndyCar may seem “old hat” by comparison, but both series have something that F1 doesn’t: a true “event” that attracts the attention of casual exhibitors who never watch another race. F1 has all the momentum and all the momentum, but it doesn’t have the Daytona 500 – or the Indy 500.
Last year’s Indy 500 averaged 5.55 million viewers (pending review), the highest since 2016 and the most-watched auto race of the year – and that was despite a live broadcast of an NBA playoff featuring LeBron James. There is no such competition this year, and in the age of outdoor viewing, a traditional Sunday event of the weekend looks set to grow.
The Monaco Grand Prix numbers will do well on Sunday, given the general trend in the F1 show this year, but it will be hard to get close to the Indy 500 (or even NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600). The racing hierarchy may be in flux, but at least for now there is still one day of the year that IndyCar is definitively number one.
IndyCar Indianapolis 500 (11A Sun NBC, Peacock). Prediction: 2.9, 5.63 AD.
Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix (8:55a Sun ESPN). Prediction: 1.0, 1.98 AD.
NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 (6:00p Sun Fox). Prediction: 2.4, 4.74 AD.
– PGA Tour of the Colony, Final Round (2p Sun CBS). The viewership on the Colonial’s PGA Tour was the highest since 2004 in consecutive years. Don’t expect three times. Last year’s audience was 3.11 million (review pending). Prediction: 2.98 m.
– MLB Sunday Night Baseball: Phillies-Mets (7:08p Sun ESPN2). With the Celtics-Heat going at seven, Sunday night baseball It’s moving down the dial to ESPN2 this week. Expect viewership to dip below the current season low of 961,000 for the Giants-Cardinals two weeks ago. Prediction: 649k.
– WNBA: Phoenix Atlanta (Noon Sun CBS). The WNBA gets another rare outing on CBS on Sunday. Given Noon ET’s early and bright turnout and the Indy 500 contest, don’t expect much of a turnout. Prediction: 416 thousand.
– NBA Playoffs: Bucks-Celtics Game 7. Prediction: 4.7, 8.26 m; result: 4.0, 7.48 m
– NBA Playoffs: Mavericks Suns 7 Game. Prediction: 3.2, 5.94 m; result: 3.2, 6.29 m
Stanley Cup Playoffs: Penguins Rangers Game 7. Prediction: 1.1, 1.94 m; result: 1.2, 2.33 m
Stanley Cup Playoffs: Stars-Flames 7. Prediction: 0.45, 908 K; result: 0.51, 1.02 m
– Sunday Night Baseball: Giants – Cardinals. prediction: 0.61, 1.02 m; result: 0.57, 961 K