SBD/Issue 73/Sports Media

ABC, ESPN Earn Best NBA Christmas Day Audiences Ever

Heat-Lakers On Christmas Day Marks ABC's
Best NBA Regular-Season Mark Since '04

The two NBA Christmas Day games on ABC averaged a 5.5 fast-national Nielsen rating, marking the net’s best Christmas Day audience ever. ESPN’s three games also marked the net’s best Christmas Day audience. The Heat-Lakers telecast on ABC in the 5:30pm ET window led all NBA telecasts with a 6.4 rating, marking the net’s highest regular-season rating since the same matchup on Christmas in ’04 earned a 7.3 rating. The game earned a 15.5 local rating in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, marking the best local rating ever for an NBA game on ABC. The 15.0 rating in L.A. is the best for ABC in the market since Heat-Lakers in ’04. The Celtics-Magic telecast in the 2:30pm window on ABC earned a 4.6 rating, up 39% from a 3.3 rating for the same matchup last year. ABC also earned an 8.0 local rating in Orlando-Daytona Beach, which marks the net’s best NBA regular-season rating ever in the market. On ESPN, Bulls-Knicks in the 12:00pm slot led the net's telecasts with a 2.3 U.S. rating (4.0 million viewers), up 35% from the comparable Heat-Knicks in the same slot on Christmas last year (THE DAILY). In Miami, Barry Jackson reports for the "first time in memory, a Heat game drew a larger local audience than a Dolphins game during the same weekend." The 15.5 local rating topped the 14.1 for Lions-Dolphins on Sunday (MIAMI HERALD, 12/28). In Orlando, Hal Boedeker noted the Celtics-Magic game drew 183,100 viewers in the Orlando market, fewer than the 209,300 viewers in the market for the Heat-Lakers game that followed on ABC. Boedeker also noted that the NBA telecasts "trailed the NFL in pulling in local viewers this weekend," as the two Sunday NFL windows on Fox "drew bigger audiences." Redskins-Jaguars was shown in Orlando in the early Fox NFL window, drawing 242,300 viewers, while Giants-Packers in the national window drew 253,600 viewers (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 12/27). In L.A., Austin Knoblauch wrote, "It looks like the NBA and its commercial partners are having a belated merry Christmas" (LATIMES.com, 12/27).

TOP CHRISTMAS DAY SPORTS AUDIENCES
GAME
NET
START (ET)
U.S.
RATING
VIEWERS
(000)
Heat-Lakers
ABC
5:15pm
6.4
13,059
Celtics-Magic
ABC
2:30pm
4.6
8,657
Cowboys-Cardinals
NFLN
7:45pm
3.8
7,800
Bulls-Knicks
ESPN
12:00pm
2.3
4,017
Nuggets-Thunder
ESPN
7:59pm
1.2
2,028
Trail Blazers-Warriors
ESPN
10:44pm
1.1
1,725
         

COACH'S CORNER: ESPN has hired former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown "as an analyst." ESPN said that Brown was scheduled to "begin his TV stint on Christmas Day" for the Bulls-Knicks telecast on ESPN 3D. Brown also will "contribute as an ESPN studio analyst throughout the season" (AP, 12/24).

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