ESPN drew its highest-rated NBA regular season game since 2016 last night for its Los Angeles Lakers at Cleveland Cavaliers telecast. LeBron James’ return to Cleveland generated a 2.6 metered market rating, up 18 percent from last year’s comparable game – Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – according to Nielsen. It’s the highest-rated ESPN NBA regular season telecast since the Golden State Warriors won their record 73rd game of the season in April 2016.
Last night’s game is now the highest-rated NBA telecast of the 2018-19 season across networks. It peaked with a 3.3 rating from 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET. In the Cleveland market, the ESPN telecast generated a 14.8 rating, making it the highest-rated ESPN NBA regular season game ever in the market.
ESPN’s Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors telecast last night delivered a 2.0 metered market rating, up 25 percent from a 1.6 rating for last year’s comparable Lakers vs. Kings telecast. Overall, the doubleheader averaged a 2.3 metered market rating, making it the highest-rated ESPN NBA regular season doubleheader in four years, since October 2014. It was up 21 percent from last year’s Thanksgiving Eve doubleheader.
Additionally, ESPN’s telecast of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational Championship Game (5 p.m.), in which No. 3 Gonzaga defeated No. 1 Duke, delivered a 1.7 metered market rating, making it the highest-rated Maui Jim Maui Invitational Championship Game since 2010.
NBA Countdown, ESPN’s NBA pregame show, generated a 1.4 metered market rating on Wednesday, up 100 percent from a 0.7 rating for last year’s Thanksgiving Eve edition of the show. Also, SportsCenter on ESPN at 1 a.m. drew a 1.0 metered market rating, up 11 percent from last year’s Thanksgiving Eve episode of the show.