NBA 2020-21: NBA viewership across TNT, ESPN, and ABC goes up 34%

NBA 2020-21: NBA viewership across TNT, ESPN, and ABC through MLK Day (27 games) is up 34% vs. the comparable number of games during the 2019-20 season (2.0 million average viewers vs. 1.49 million average viewers), according to Nielsen Media Research.

TNT’s MLK Day tripleheader coverage – featuring the Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets, and Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers – averaged 1.73 million viewers, up 32% vs. the network’s comparable MLK Day coverage last season.

The Warriors vs. Lakers game was up 90% vs. last year’s same telecast window.  Viewership on NBA League Pass, the league’s live game subscription package, on MLK Day was up 46% vs. last year.

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Through MLK Day, NBA League Pass has delivered strong regular-season viewership with average minutes watched increasing 18% vs. the comparable number of games during the 2019-20 season on the platform.

The NBA’s social media platforms have generated record engagement season-to-date, with a 201% increase in minutes watched vs. last year.

Last year the NBA suffered a huge drop in TV ratings

After suffering a rating drop for its championship series, the NBA is carousing its most-watched opening week since 2012, which was led by Christmas Day contests.

The NBA began its shortened 72-game season due to Covid-19 last week, said an aggregate of 3.4 million viewers watched its games from the opening night to Dec. 25.

The Christmas Day game between the LeBron James-led LA Lakers and Luka Doncic’s Dallas Mavericks on Disney’s ABC network led the way, averaging 7 million viewers.
Also, the Miami Heat vs New Orleans Pelicans game averaged 3.5 million viewers while the LA Clippers vs Denver Nuggets contest averaged 2.05 million viewers.

The 2020 primetime Christmas Day matches on ABC had solid ratings, it still came in lower than last year’s Lakers-Clippers contest which had roughly 8.8 million viewers across ABC and ESPN platforms.

According to the NBA, the Dec. 22 opening night doubleheader on AT&T’s TNT had an average of 2.9 million viewers and made it the most-watched opening night since 2017.

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Golden State Warriors bring in a lot of viewership for the NBA

Those games featured the Golden State Warriors against the Brooklyn Nets and the Clippers versus the Lakers. The NBA said its consolidated viewership across TNT, ESPN, and ABC for the 2020 openers was up 67% (3.4 million) corresponded to 2019 when the league NBA averaged 2.2 million for opening week.

The NBA told CNBC spectators viewed 81.5 million hours of live NBA coverage on national media partners’ outlets. That’s up from 41.8 million hours on ESPN and TNT during opening week in 2019.

The NBA is posting on a bounce in ratings after the Covid-19 pandemic struck its 2020-19 season, bursting it to revert to a cluttered sports TV lineup that included Major League Baseball’s postseason and World Series and National Football League games.
The first game of the 2020 NBA Finals received the lowest ratings since 1994, attracting 7.4 million viewers in part due to the sports clutter.