Spurs/Heat Viewership Up Big, With a Caveat


Compared to a Thanksgiving night stinker between the Wizards and Hawks two years ago, viewership more than doubled for Thursday’s controversial Spurs/Heat game.

Thursday’s Spurs/Heat NBA regular season game earned 2.0 million viewers on TNT, up 108% from Wizards/Hawks on Thanksgiving night in 2010 (1.0M), and up 56% from Magic/Hawks on Thanksgiving night in 2009 (1.3M). Last year’s comparable Heat/Celtics game was canceled due to the NBA owners’ lockout of players.

The 108% increase looks impressive on paper. However, the 2010 Wizards/Hawks game — a 20-point blowout win by the Hawks over the 5-8 Wizards — was one of the least-viewed of the season.

Spurs/Heat ranks ninth in viewership out of the 20 NBA games on TNT and ESPN this season.

There were no nationally televised games between the Spurs and Heat last season. During the 2010-11 season, however, two Spurs/Heat games on ESPN earned 2.7 and 2.9 million viewers.

Later Thursday night, Nuggets/Warriors drew 1.2 million viewers — up 27% from Kings/Clippers in 2010 (1.0M), and up 30% from Bulls/Jazz in 2009 (0.9M). Last year’s Thunder/Nuggets game was canceled.

On Monday night, the rescheduled Knicks/Nets game drew 1.8 million viewers. There was no comparable telecast in 2010.

(Thursday numbers from TV By the Numbers; Monday viewership from The Futon Critic)