ESPN says that the current NBA regular season is its second-most watched ever (opening night to Christmas), according to Nielsen. As of Dec. 15, the NBA on ESPN through 30 games is averaging 1,811,000 viewers, up 18 percent from 1,532,000 for the same period last year.
Since ESPN began televising NBA games (2002-03 season), the only season to have a hotter start is the 2010-11 campaign, which was the first year of LeBron James’ stint with the Miami Heat. The 2011-12 NBA regular season began on Christmas and is not factored into these rankings.
ESPN’s most-watched games this season:
- Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 22 – 3,282,000 viewers.
- Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics on Nov. 8 – 2,698,000 viewers.
- Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 20 – 2,428,000 viewers.