Lakers' NBA championship win produces best ratings for basketball since 1998

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The L.A. Lakers' series-clinching win over the Boston Celtics was seen by 28.2 million viewers last week, making it the most-watched NBA game since Michael Jordan won his sixth and final championship in 1998.The Nielsen Co. said Thursday's game on ABC was the most-watched event during television's summer season since the first "Survivor" finale in 2000, with the exception of the Olympics.

During the game's deciding moments in the fourth quarter, viewership peaked at 36.5 million - even though it was after 11:30 p.m. on the East Coast.

It continues a trend of big events in sports and entertainment getting big ratings, attributed in part to the rapid acceptance of high-definition television. This year's Super Bowl ranks as the most most-watched program in U.S. television history. As a whole, the seven-game championship series between the NBA's two most successful franchises had better ratings than any NBA finals since the Lakers took on the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001.

Meanwhile, HBO's "True Blood" was seen by 4.3 million viewers for its second episode of the season on Sunday, Nielsen said.

The season debut, seen by the 5.1 million the week before, led HBO to place an order for another season that will air next summer.

For the week, ABC averaged 7.5 million viewers (4.6 rating, 8 share). CBS was second with a 6.4 million viewer average (4.1, 8), followed by NBC's 5.9 million (3.7, 7), Fox's 4.6 million (2.8, 5), ION Television's 1.2 million (0.8, 2) and the CW's 920,000 (0.6, 1).

Organizations: NBA, Lakers, CBS

Geographic location: U.S.

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