A very competitive NBA finals series and Jennifer Capriati's dramatic triumph in an intense French Open tennis tourney final sparked big sports numbers for NBC over the weekend.
The Los Angeles Lakers 96-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers drew a 16.1 rating, 26 share in Nielsen overnight numbers, a 24% jump over the 13.0/22 scored by the Lakers-Indiana Pacers game three tilt lastg year. It the highest rating for a third game in the finals since the 16.8 rating for Michael Jordan's final appearance with the Chicago Bulls against the Utah Jazz in 1998.
Capriati's dogfight with Kim Clysters in the French Open final on Saturday hit a 3.3/10 - a 43% leap over the 2.3/6 for last year's French Open women's final beween Martina Hingis and Mary Pierce. That provided a potent lead-in for the Belmont Stakes race, which drew a 4.9/13 for the highest Belmont rating in a non-Triple Crown winner year since ABC's 5.3 rating in 1991. The race's rating ran 44% over last year's edition, which drew a 3.4/9.
- Richard Tedesco