The first game of the 2011-12* NBA regular season earned near-record viewership for TNT.
Sunday’s Celtics/Knicks NBA regular season game drew a 3.4 U.S. rating and 5.860 million viewers on TNT, up 48% in ratings and 46% in viewership from last year’s comparable Christmas Day game (CHI/NY: 2.3, 4.017M), and up 100% and 121%, respectively, from Christmas Day in 2009 (MIA/NY: 1.7, 2.652M).
The game ranks as the fourth-most viewed NBA regular season game ever on cable, behind only Heat/Cavaliers last December (7.096M), Bulls/Lakers in February 1996 (7.271M), and Heat/Celtics on Opening Night last year (7.348M).
Locally, the game drew a 7.8 rating in Boston and a 7.2 in New York.
* Shortened due to owners’ lockout.
(Sunday’s numbers from Turner Sports)