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LeBronathon scores big aud for ESPN

Jamespn

It might not be America’s favorite new network, but JAMESPN certainly was a popular one Thursday.

The ballyhooed, boo-hooed and booed “The Decision,” featuring NBA star LeBron James’ revelation that he would be signing as a free agent with (spoiler alert) Miami, gave ESPN a 7.3 overnight rating from 9-10:15 p.m. Eastern, the network’s highest non-NFL rating of 2010.

Though final ratings have not come in, the number is believed to be tops in cable or broadcast for Thursday.

With the actual announcement of James’ decision held back until approximately 30 minutes into the program, the telecast peaked with a 9.6 rating from 9:15-9:30 p.m. In Cleveland, where James had played for seven years, the metered market rating was 26.0. Miami was at 12.8.

James drew a much higher audience than ESPN’s heavily promoted interviews with Tiger Woods in March and with Alex Rodriguez in February 2009. More than 300,000 unique viewers also watched “The Decision” on ESPN3.com.

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