NBA Opening Night Viewership Hits Five-Year High

The NBA is back, and apparently, so are the league’s television ratings.Jayson Tatum

Per Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch, the opening night TNT doubleheader averaged 3.3 million viewers, a whopping 17 percent increase from last season. That was also the highest average since 2017, Lewis noted.

The first game featured the Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Celtics topping Joel Embiid, James Harden and the 76ers. And the second game consisted of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and the Warriors overtaking LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers.

Last season, the league started to shows signs of bouncing back after the COVID-19 pandemic paused its 2019-20 season — with the 2020 NBA Finals between the Lakers and Heat being played in September and October inside the Disney bubble.

“In addition to the five-year viewership high, the Opening Night games also averaged a record share of 6.2% — up 32% from last year (4.7),” Lewis wrote. “As the number of viewers watching linear television declines, audiences will tend to make up a larger percentage of the shrinking linear TV audience than in years past.”

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