ESPN’s NBA Viewership Up Across TV & Digital Platforms


ESPN’s NBA Viewership Up Across TV & Digital Platforms

ESPN’s NBA viewership is up across its television and digital platforms compared to last season, according to Nielsen. Through 30 games (as of Jan. 5), the NBA is averaging 2,351,000 viewers (p2+) on ESPN and ABC combined, up four percent from 2,257,000 viewers (p2+) last season.

Additionally, ESPN is experiencing its most-watched NBA season across its digital platforms. On WatchESPN, the NBA has generated 152,000 unique viewers per game, up 61 percent from 95,000 last year.  WatchESPN is also up 78 percent in average minute audience for its NBA games, with 41,000 compared to just over 23,000 a year ago.

ESPN’s NBA audience is up, even amidst a significant increase in high-profile programming events during the first week of the season,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling. “That’s a testament to the compelling storylines and star power in the NBA today, and to ESPN’s place as the destination for NBA fans.”

Through two games on Christmas Day, viewership for the NBA on ABC is up 14 percent compared to last season. ABC is averaging 8,709,000 million viewers (p2+), compared to 7,648,000 million viewers (p2+) a year ago. The NBA on ABC resumes with the launch of its new franchise, NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC, Jan. 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Through 28 games, the NBA on ESPN is averaging 1,855,000 viewers (p2+), up two percent from 1,816,000 viewers (p2+) last year. ESPN’s NBA coverage continues with four prime-time telecasts this week.

More NBA on ESPN highlights:

  • NBA on ESPN season-opening doubleheader up 24 percent;
  • Cleveland Cavaliers-Golden State Warriors is the third-most watched Christmas Day game ever on ABC;
  • Most-watched ESPN Christmas Day prime-time doubleheader;
  • San Antonio Spurs-Houston Rockets is third most-watched Christmas Day game ever on ESPN;
  • Top six most-watched NBA games on WatchESPN have come this season.

The cross-platform increase in NBA viewership comes on the heels of ESPN once again being cable’s most-watched network in prime time for 2015. ESPN’s average total day audience for 2015, 900,001 viewers (p2+), was 25 percent larger than all non-ESPN sports networks combined.

More information, including the 2015-16 regular-season schedule, is available at


Media contact: Ben Cafardo at 860-766-3496 or [email protected] (@Ben_ESPN).



Ben Cafardo

I lead communications strategy and execution for ESPN’s NBA, MLB, FIBA and Little League World Series properties. I’m also a proud consumer of all things ESPN.
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