2020 marked the NBA’s best opening viewership in eight years.
In a press release, the league announced that their games from the Dec. 22 to 25 Tip-Off week averaged 3.4 million viewers. The total viewership over the ABC, TNT and ESPN networks was up 67 percent compared to the opening week of Oct. 22-25 last year, the press release stated (2.0 million viewers on average in 2019).
The season began on Dec. 22, with the Brooklyn Nets hosting the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Los Angeles Clippers. The league announced that those games averaged 2.9 million viewers, marking the NBA’s best opening night in terms of viewership since 2017.
The Christmas Day game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks averaged an impressive 7.01 million viewers on ESPN and ABC.
It’s obviously an encouraging start for the NBA considering that the the 2020 Finals (between the Lakers and Miami Heat) saw a major decline during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The NBA, of course, wasn’t the only major sports league that saw a decline in ratings. The NHL’s Stanley Cup Final series between the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning also saw a major drop in viewership, in both Canada and the United States.
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Ratings for the 2020 MLB World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays also saw a notable drop in viewership, with the first four games each failing to reach 10 million viewers.
However, ratings have remained strong for the NFL during its 2020 campaign, with the regular season set to end this Sunday. Super Bowl 54 is scheduled to be played on Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida.
The 72-game NBA regular season is slated to end on May 16; the second half of the schedule hasn’t been released yet. The play-in tournament is scheduled for May 18-21, with the full postseason beginning on May 22.
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