NBA Ratings Soar, Giving ESPN and ABC a Reason to Celebrate

Overall coverage is up 39 percent compared to last year's holiday basketball coverage.

NBA ratings
Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors blocks the shot of LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers late in the fourth quarter on December 25, 2017. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Despite fewer NFL games this year, early scores for ABC’s and ESPN’s Christmas Day basketball coverage climbed a shocking 39 percent from 2016 scores. The biggest game of the day was the Warriors-Cavaliers face-off in the afternoon, but the four games averaged a 3.0 overnight rating among metered-market households, peaking with the afternoon game. The Warriors-Cavs game scored a 5.5 rating among metered markets, matching the fifth-highest rating for an early ABC window ever on Christmas. But the primetime game between Oklahoma City and the Houston Rockets scored ABC’s best Christmas rating since 2003. The Thunders’ win over the Rockets brought a 4.1 rating among metered-market households. ESPN’s games did well too. The 76ers-Knicks game pulled a 2.4 rating and the Wizards-Celtics game got a 3.7 rating. ABC won primetime on Christmas Day, but NBC got the No. 2 spot with its annual showing of the 1966 and 2000 versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. 

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