It was a happy holiday for the NBA and its Disney-owned broadcast partners.
Christmas day NBA coverage on ABC and ESPN saw a ratings surge Monday, averaging a 3.9 household rating across four games — up 39% from the average for Christmas 2016’s five-game schedule, according top Nielsen metered-market numbers.
The NBA Finals rematch between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers fared the best of any of the NBA’s games, delivering a 5.5 metered-market rating. The Warriors’ 99-92 victory, broadcast in ABC’s early window, matched the fifth-highest rated early Christmas game ever on the network. Earlier in the day, the Philadelphia 76ers’ 105-98 win over the New York Knicks averaged a 2.4 rating on ESPN. In ESPN’s second game of the holiday, the Washington Wizards’ 111-103 victory over the Boston Celtics averaged a 3.7.
In primetime, the ABC telecast of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 112-107 victory over the Houston Rockets averaged a 4.1 rating, marking the league’s it the highest-rated primetime telecast since 2003.
NBA coverage benefited from facing less competition from the NFL than it did last year, when Christmas fell on a Sunday. The only pro football match-up of the day was the Philadelphia Eagles’ 19-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” Ratings for that game will be available later Tuesday.