NBA Finals: TV champs

In the world of television, surprises can come from all directions. This weekend, it came from Philadelphia.

Last year’s mild ratings for the NBA finals–the L.A. Lakers over the Indiana Pacers–led many to believe that this year’s contest–the Lakers against the Philadelphia 76ers–would produce meager results.

They were wrong.

Friday night’s showdown on NBC earned a per-household share seven percent higher than last year’s finale–and a share 26 percent higher than 1999’s clash between the New York Knicks and the San Antonio Spurs, according to the Associated Press. It was the highest-rated NBA final since Michael Jordan’s career-ending appearance with the Chicago Bulls in 1998.

It wasn’t simply a victory for the Lakers–it was a victory for L.A. in the ratings, as the City of Angels toppled the City of Brotherly Love in the ratings for the first time in the NBA final series. Though Philadelphia had been winning the ratings race in the first four games of the series, L.A. viewership jumped ahead, earning a 58 share over Philly’s 54 share. Surprising, considering the game was held in Philadelphia.