Christmas Day provided a television ratings success story for the NBA, with the league seeing a solid increase from last year’s viewership numbers.
The NBA has been working for years to make its games a Christmas Day tradition, and this year the league featured a strong slate of matchups. Among its contests included the Philadelphia 76ers at New York Kicks, Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder, and Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers.
With the NFL staging a limited number of Christmas Day games, the NBA managed to score solid ratings numbers. The Cavaliers/Warriors matchup attracted a 5.5 rating, while the average across the networks that aired games–ESPN, ABC, and TNT–came out to a 3.35 overnight rating. That marked an increase of about 20% from last year’s Christmas Day slate. More Bloomberg:
The early evening game on ABC — Oklahoma City 112, Houston 107 — drew a 4.1 overnight rating, the league’s highest for a prime-time Christmas game since 2003. In a rematch of last season’s championship, earlier in the day and also on ABC, the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-92. The game drew a 5.5 overnight rating, making it the fifth-best Christmas game on the network.
The NFL slated featured two games on Christmas Day, including the Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texas and Oakland Raiders at Philadelpia Eagles. Per Bloomberg, the prime-time contest between the Raiders and Eagles “drew a 6.7 overnight rating, down about 9 percent compared with the average Monday Night Football game this year.”