NBA on ESPN Viewership is Up 24 Percent to Start 2017-18 Season


NBA on ESPN Viewership is Up 24 Percent to Start 2017-18 Season

Warriors-Thunder (Nov. 22) is Most-Viewed Regular-Season Game on ESPN Since Christmas 2016

The NBA on ESPN is averaging 1,920,000 viewers through 19 games to start the 2017-18 season, a 24 percent increase over the same period in 2016 (1,557,000 viewers).

Last week, the Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game (Nov. 22) on ESPN averaged 3,282,000 viewers – the most-viewed regular-season game on ESPN since Christmas 2016 (3,686,000 viewers, Celtics-Knicks). The matchup of Western Conference rivals was up 196 percent versus the comparable game last year (1,110,000 viewers, Spurs-Hornets).

ESPN’s Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings game, also on Nov. 22, drew 2,178,000 viewers following Warriors-Thunder, a 69 percent gain over last year’s comparable matchup (1,286,000, Timberwolves-Pelicans).

In all, the Wednesday Night NBA on ESPN doubleheader averaged 2,762,000 viewers – a 131 percent increase over the comparable window in 2016, making ESPN the most-viewed network on broadcast and cable in primetime on Thanksgiving Eve among adults 18-34 and all key male demos (18-34, 18-49, and 25-54).

“There is so much excitement surrounding the NBA and our viewership on ESPN is a reflection of that,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling. “With a full slate of Christmas Day games next month and the start of our NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC schedule in January, it’s a great time to be an NBA fan.”

ESPN’s Top-5 Most-Viewed NBA Games This Season:

Telecast Date Viewers (P2+)
1. Warriors vs. Thunder Nov 22 3,282,000 viewers
2. Lakers vs. Celtics Nov 8 2,698,000
3. Warriors vs. Pelicans Oct 20 2,428,000
4. Celtics vs. Thunder Nov 3 2,370,000
5. Timberwolves vs. Warriors Nov 8 2,203,000

Note: ESPN’s NBA viewership is based on the new Nielsen Total Audience measurement this season.

The NBA on ESPN Returns Tonight – Nuggets vs. Jazz, 10 p.m. ET:

The NBA on ESPN returns tonight with a special Tuesday night edition – Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz at 10 p.m. ET.


Gianina Thompson

“Never wish for it more than you work for it.” My dad has told me this ever since we watched the New York Yankees win the World Series in 1996. Living by those words has brought me to ESPN as their Senior Publicist for NBA, MLB, FIBA, and Little League. Working for the World Wide Leader in Sports, it comes naturally that I have a competitive nature. Competing on a Division 1 college rowing team and receiving both my master’s and bachelor’s degrees before turning 22 years old, further illustrates that. Sports are more than entertainment; it’s hopes for something bigger than yesterday.
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