Most-Watched ESPN NBA Opening Night in 11 Years and Second-Most Watched Ever


Most-Watched ESPN NBA Opening Night in 11 Years and Second-Most Watched Ever

Viewership Up 80 Percent From Last Year; Peak Audience of 4,351,000 Viewers

ESPN had its most-watched NBA opening night in 11 years and its second-most watched opening night ever, according to Nielsen. Viewership for the season-opening doubleheader was up 80 percent from last year. The first two games of the season on ESPN generated an average audience of 2,756,000 viewers, up from 1,532,000 viewers in 2022.

The Boston Celtics victory over the New York Knicks averaged 2,552,000 viewers, peaking with 4,351,000 viewers at 9:45 p.m. ET. It was the most-watched ESPN season-opening early game since 2012 and up 76 percent from last year’s early game (New York Knicks vs. Memphis Grizzlies).

The nightcap, which featured the debut of Victor Wembanyama, averaged nearly three million viewers (2,989,000) as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the San Antonio Spurs. It peaked with 3,903,000 viewers at 10 p.m. ET. It was up 83 percent vs last year’s comparable game (Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns) and is the most-watched season-opening ESPN late game since 2012. Excluding Christmas Day, it is the most-watched San Antonio Spurs or Dallas Mavericks regular season game ever on ESPN.

The NBA on ESPN was the most-watched primetime programming across all of television – broadcast and cable – for October 25 amongst people under 50, adults 18-34, adults 25-54, males 18-34, males 18-49 and males 25-54.


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