SBD/December 26, 2013/Media

NBA Christmas Day Sees Record ESPN Overnights, But ABC Games Struggle

The NBA’s five games on Christmas Day saw a mixed bag in the overnight ratings. ESPN saw its best Christmas tripleheader average (2.3 overnight) for the second straight year, led by a 2.4 for Rockets-Spurs in the first primetime slot (8:00pm ET). Rockets-Spurs marks ESPN’s best overnight on record for a Christmas primetime game and helped deliver the net its best Christmas primetime doubleheader average ever. The game also was up 41% from Rockets-Bulls in the same time slot last season -- a game that lacked Bulls G Derrick Rose. This year’s Bulls-Nets game in the 12:00pm slot, which also lacked Rose and featured a struggling Nets team, earned a 2.3 overnight. That figure is down 15% from Celtics-Nets last year. Meanwhile, ABC earned a 3.7 overnight for the Thunder’s blowout of the Knicks in the 3:00pm window, down 37% from Knicks-Lakers last year, when Knicks F Carmelo Anthony and Lakers G Kobe Bryant both played. Bryant did not play in yesterday’s Heat-Lakers game in the 5:30pm window on ABC, with that game drawing a 4.9 overnight. That figure is down 18% from a 6.0 rating for Thunder-Heat in the same window in ’12, which marked the fourth-best NBA regular-season overnight on record (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

NBA CHRISTMAS DAY OVERNIGHT RATINGS
WINDOW (ET)
'13 MATCHUP
NETWORK
OVERNIGHT
12:00pm
Bulls-Nets
ESPN
2.3
3:00pm
Thunder-Knicks
ABC
3.7
5:30pm
Heat-Lakers
ABC
4.9
8:00pm
Rockets-Spurs
ESPN
2.4
10:30pm
Clippers-Warriors
ESPN
2.3
WINDOW (ET)
'12 MATCHUP
NETWORK
OVERNIGHT
12:00pm
Celtics-Nets
ESPN
2.7
3:00pm
Knicks-Lakers
ABC
5.9
5:30pm
Thunder-Heat
ABC
6.0
8:00pm
Rockets-Bulls
ESPN
1.7
10:30pm
Nuggets-Clippers
ESPN
2.0
WINDOW (ET)
'11 MATCHUP
NETWORK
OVERNIGHT
12:00pm
Knicks-Celtics
TNT
4.1
3:00pm
Heat-Mavericks
ABC
5.6
5:30pm
Bulls-Lakers
ABC
6.5
8:00pm
Magic-Thunder
ESPN
1.9
10:30pm
Clippers-Warriors
ESPN
2.3
WINDOW (ET)
'10 MATCHUP
NETWORK
OVERNIGHT
12:00pm
Bulls-Knicks
ESPN
2.7
3:00pm
Celtics-Magic
ABC
5.3
5:30pm
Heat-Lakers
ABC
7.3
8:00pm
Nuggets-Thunder
ESPN
1.4
10:30pm
Trail Blazers-Warriors
ESPN
1.3
   

YOU DROPPED THE BOMB ON ME: In Ft. Lauderdale, Ira Winderman noted the Heat "took their video bombing to the network level" yesterday when G Dwyane Wade was interviewed by ESPN's Heather Cox after the game agianst the Lakers. Cox "got a bit flustered" as F LeBron James interrupted the interview. She said, "I just don't even know how to keep a straight face there. Shall we continue to pretend like he's not doing that? I didn't even see him." Cox later said to Wade, "You're used to this. I'm not as used to this" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 12/25).

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? In Toronto, Doug Smith writes there are a "lot of things the NBA does well but Christmas Day is not one of them," and fans can "chalk up the major shortcomings on the day to pure greed." There are not only "too many games ... but the whole 'event' smacks of something so hugely over-done it takes away from any special feeling it hoped to generate." Smith: "In my perfect world there are two games, a crossover of the previous year's conference finalists perhaps, and everything else stays the same." Meanwhile, he writes the T-shirt jerseys that all 10 teams wore yesterday "not only made the game look like it was some open run at some rec centre somewhere, the fact a handful of players complained about the impact they had on a shooting motion should give cause for the league to banish them forever" (THESTAR.com, 12/26). In California, Jeff Miller wrote despite the NBA having played games on Christmas since '47, the practice "still feels unnecessary, obtrusive and even a little sad." Miller: "Can't we have just one day that is free of sports? ... Christmas Day was meant to be about loved ones, taking time with the family, not taking the Clippers and the points" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 12/25).

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