NBA Ratings Up Following Poor TV Performance During Bubble Season

     

    • NBA viewership across TNT, ESPN and ABC through MLK Day (27 games) is up 34%.
    • The 2020 NBA Finals saw a 51% decline from the year before.

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After suffering a highly publicized decline in ratings during last season’s bubble games, the NBA is on the path to recovery. 

NBA viewership across TNT, ESPN and ABC through MLK Day (27 games) is up 34% vs. the comparable number of games during the 2019-20 season.

The average game is now reaching 2 million viewers vs. 1.49 million in the previous season, according to Nielsen Media Research released by the league on Friday. 

Viewership hit rock bottom last fall, when the 2020 NBA Finals saw a 51% decline from the year before, with Games 1, 2, and 3 ranking as the least-watched Finals games on record.

Highlights of this NBA season’s viewership spike:

  • TNT’s Opening Night doubleheader was the most-watched Opening Night since 2017, averaging 2.9 million viewers.
  • Overall, the league had its most-watched opening week since 2012 with an average of 3.4 million viewers, up 67% from last year’s opening week.
  • TNT’s MLK Day tripleheader averaged 1.73 million viewers, up 32% from last January’s tripleheader.

Annual subscriptions for the all-access NBA League Pass package start at $150 — a cost that has not been prohibitive to its success. The NBA says League Pass viewership is up 46% from last season.