The NBA’s Christmas Day schedule is in the rear-view mirror, and the league has to be thrilled about the overnight ratings that have come in.
ABC aired a doubleheader, and the two games were both up. The first game to air on ABC was Thunder-Spurs, which drew a 4.0 overnight – that’s an 8% jump from Thunder-Knicks in 2013. The late game on ABC was Cavs-Heat, and the 5.5 rating was a 12% jump from Heat-Lakers a year ago. Over on ESPN, Wizards-Knicks was down from Bulls-Nets last year, but still drew a 2.1 overnight and a 3.6 in DC – the second-highest rated Wizards regular season game on the network. Overall on the family of networks, the trio of games drew a 4.0 overnight, 8% up from last year.
Over on TNT, the NBA thrived. Lakers-Bulls drew a 2.6 overnight and averaged 3.9 million viewers, the highest-rated and most-watched primetime game on Christmas Day ever. Warriors-Clippers drew 3.08 million viewers and a 1.7 overnight in the late slot. The TNT doubleheader as a whole averaged 3.5 million viewers, up 94% from the network’s previous doubleheader way back in 2008.
Hey, good for the NBA. The league got that monstrous new TV deal earlier this year, and their partners have to be thrilled with the continued strong ratings. Sure, there’s not a lot of competition on Christmas, but the league and Christmas have become synonymous – that’s only a good thing for their ratings and viewership totals in future years. When it comes to TV programming on Christmas Day, the only certainties are the NBA and A Christmas Story. That works.