Men lie, women lie, and ratings don’t. It appears people missed the NBA.
NBA television ratings are up significantly compared to the start of the 2019 season, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Ratings for an opening week on ESPN, ABC, and TNT are up 67 percent compared with the first week of the 2019-20 season. In addition, TNT’s opening night telecasts of Golden State-Brooklyn and the Clippers-Lakers matchup were the most-watched opening-night telecasts since 2017, averaging 2.9 million viewers.
The Christmas games averaged 2.83 million viewers, up 10% vs. 2019, and the Lakers-Dallas Mavericks game on ESPN and ABC averaged seven million viewers, making ABC the most-watched network in primetime, and the New Orleans-Miami game on ESPN was the most-watched program of the day on cable.
The league’s social media platforms also had a 36% rise in video views and a 279% bump in minutes watched compared to last year.
The NBA shifted to a December start for its 2020-21 season after 2019-20 was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. These numbers are all promising for the NBA on all platforms. Before the pandemic happened, some NBA owners wanted to start the NBA season in December rather than late October. These early rating indications could further strengthen that case down the line.