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NBA on ESPN Viewership is Up 24 Percent to Start 2017-18 Season


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Warriors-Thunder (Nov. 22) is Most-Viewed Regular-Season Game on ESPN Since Christmas 2016

The NBA on ESPN is averaging 1,920,000 viewers through 19 games to start the 2017-18 season, a 24 percent increase over the same period in 2016 (1,557,000 viewers).

Last week, the Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game (Nov. 22) on ESPN averaged 3,282,000 viewers – the most-viewed regular-season game on ESPN since Christmas 2016 (3,686,000 viewers, Celtics-Knicks). The matchup of Western Conference rivals was up 196 percent versus the comparable game last year (1,110,000 viewers, Spurs-Hornets).

ESPN’s Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings game, also on Nov. 22, drew 2,178,000 viewers following Warriors-Thunder, a 69 percent gain over last year’s comparable matchup (1,286,000, Timberwolves-Pelicans).

In all, the Wednesday Night NBA on ESPN doubleheader averaged 2,762,000 viewers – a 131 percent increase over the comparable window in 2016, making ESPN the most-viewed network on broadcast and cable in primetime on Thanksgiving Eve among adults 18-34 and all key male demos (18-34, 18-49, and 25-54).

“There is so much excitement surrounding the NBA and our viewership on ESPN is a reflection of that,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling. “With a full slate of Christmas Day games next month and the start of our NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC schedule in January, it’s a great time to be an NBA fan.”

ESPN’s Top-5 Most-Viewed NBA Games This Season:

Telecast Date Viewers (P2+)
1. Warriors vs. Thunder Nov 22 3,282,000 viewers
2. Lakers vs. Celtics Nov 8 2,698,000
3. Warriors vs. Pelicans Oct 20 2,428,000
4. Celtics vs. Thunder Nov 3 2,370,000
5. Timberwolves vs. Warriors Nov 8 2,203,000

Note: ESPN’s NBA viewership is based on the new Nielsen Total Audience measurement this season.

The NBA on ESPN Returns Tonight – Nuggets vs. Jazz, 10 p.m. ET:

The NBA on ESPN returns tonight with a special Tuesday night edition – Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz at 10 p.m. ET.