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NBA Delivers Most-Watched Opening Night In Five Years

  • TNT’s Opening Night doubleheader averages 3.3M viewers.
  • That’s up 17% from last season.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s new 2022-23 season is off to a strong TV start, with the league posting its most-watched Opening Night in five years.

Warner Bros. Discovery’s TNT averaged 3.3 million viewers for its Opening Night doubleheader featuring the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics and the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors vs. the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s up 17% from Opening Night last season.

Meanwhile, the NBA’s social media platforms and new global app generated 148 million views — the most-ever for Opening Night, and a 200% increase from 2021.

It was an impressive start for the Association as its Opening Night debut had to compete TV-wise with Major League Baseball postseason coverage.

The numbers were driven primarily by the strong audience for the 76ers vs. Celtics early-game window on Opening Night.

  • That TNT telecast averaged 2.98 million viewers, up 36% from last year, according to Sports Media Watch
  • 76ers vs. Celtics was also the most-watched Opening Night early game since Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers averaged 5.6 million viewers in 2017.
  • Lakers-Warriors was the most-viewed program on TV last night among key demographics. 
  • Video views on NBA app were up 533%. With 71.7 million followers, the NBA’s Instagram account generated the most video views of any account on the social media platform.

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The NBA’s other national TV partner, Disney’s ABC/ESPN, is scheduled to tip off its regular-season coverage Wednesday night, with a doubleheader featuring the New York Knicks at Memphis Grizzlies (7:30 p.m. ET) and the Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns (10 p.m. ET).

On Wednesday, ESPN also announced a new studio show, “NBA Crosscourt,” for its ESPN+ streaming platform

The new studio show will stream twice-weekly for subscribers.

ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude will host, along with contributors Israel Gutierrez, Brian Windhorst, and Ohm Youngmisuk.

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