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Sunday, February 25, 2024
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The NBA Has Autumn Relevance Thanks To In-Season Tournament

  • The league set a new record for attendance in the month of November, with an average of 18,206 fans attending each game.
  • Kings-Warriors on Nov. 28 averaged 2 million viewers on TNT — a 93% increase from the comparable window in 2022.
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic looks to move the ball past Houston Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr. during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA typically doesn’t pick up steam until after Christmas, but the inaugural In-Season Tournament games helped the league set a new attendance record for the month of November.

Through the conclusion of IST group play, the league’s average attendance was 18,206 fans. The Dallas Mavericks led the way with 20,163 fans per game — the only team to average over 20,000.

Several meaningful November In-Season Tournament games helped to drive the secondary ticket sale market as well, including a Nov. 24 Knicks-Heat matchup that was the eight-most-expensive NBA ticket in general.

The IST has also expectedly bolstered the league’s returns on television. 

The Sacramento Kings’ thrilling 124-123 group play win over the Golden State Warriors on Nov. 28 averaged 2 million viewers on TNT — the most-watched IST contest thus far and a 93% increase from the comparable window in 2022. 

It builds on decently strong viewership when the In-Season Tournament debuted to 1.72 million average viewers, followed by 1.93 million average viewers for Lakers-Suns the following week.

Group play games on ESPN and TNT have averaged 1.5 million viewers, which is a 26% increase from last season’s comparable windows. Local television telecasts saw a 20% increase in average viewership versus last November. 

When the NBA introduced the concept of the In-Season Tournament, it was with the intention of drumming up interest in the league at a time of year where it was typically more dormant; so far so good.

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