The first full NBA season in two years got off to a slower start on TNT.
Tuesday’s Celtics/Heat NBA regular season game drew 5.371 million viewers on TNT, down 27% from Heat/Celtics in 2010 (7.348M), but up 34% from Celtics/Cavaliers in 2009 (4.021M).
Last year’s Opening Night Bulls/Mavericks game was canceled due to the NBA owners’ five-month lockout. The season instead opened with a Noon ET Celtics/Knicks game on TNT Christmas Day, which earned 5.860 million viewers.
Tuesday’s opener was likely affected — at least somewhat — by weather-related power outages in major television markets.
Later in the night, the Mavericks/Lakers game drew 4.298 million viewers — up slightly from Rockets/Lakers in 2010 (4.279M), and up 28% from Clippers/Lakers in 2009 (3.358M).
Viewership For NBA Opening Night Games
Past five seasons
* 2011-12 season delayed and shortened due to owner-imposed lockout
(Tuesday’s numbers from TV By the Numbers)