Entering Christmas Day, Shaky Start For NBA Season

Posted by | December 25, 2012 at 12:00 PM

The first full NBA season in two years has gotten off to a slower start on TNT and ESPN.

Of the 33 nationally televised NBA games this season that can be compared to 2010, twenty have had declines in viewership, and seventeen have had double-digit declines.

At least part of the slower start can be attributed to the effect of Hurricane Sandy earlier in the season. Major television markets, including New York and Philadelphia, were not factored into the ratings for several early season games.

Even so, declines have persisted into the month of December. Of the 13 games this month that can be compared to 2010, nine have had declines in viewership.

The top game of the season-so-far was the Celtics/Heat season opener on October 30 (5.4M). The eight most-viewed games of the season have each involved the Heat or Lakers.

On the other end of the spectrum, the November 9 Jazz/Nuggets game earned the smallest audience of the season on TNT/ESPN, attracting fewer than 1.1 million viewers.

Viewership For Regular Season NBA Games This Season
Through December 20

Date Time (ET) Away Home Net Viewership
2012 2010 vs. ’10
Tue., 10/30/12 8:00 PM Celtics Heat TNT
5.4M
7.3M
-27%
10:30 PM Mavs Lakers TNT
4.3M
4.3M
even
Thu., 11/1/12 9:30 PM Thunder Spurs TNT
2.1M
1.4M
+51%
Fri., 11/2/12 8:00 PM Heat Knicks ESPN
2.8M
3.8M
-26%
10:30 PM Clippers Lakers ESPN
3.1M
3.2M
-3%
Wed., 11/7/12 8:00 PM Sixers Hornets ESPN
1.1M
2.5M
-57%
10:30 PM Spurs Clippers ESPN
1.3M
2.3M
-43%
Thu., 11/8/12 8:00 PM Thunder Bulls TNT
1.8M
2.0M
-8%
10:30 PM Clippers Blazers TNT
1.4M
1.7M
-19%
Fri., 11/9/12 10:30 PM Jazz Nuggets ESPN
1.1M
1.9M
-45%
Wed., 11/14/12 8:00 PM Grizzlies Thunder ESPN
1.7M
1.6M
+6%
10:30 PM Heat Clippers ESPN
2.2M
1.6M
+41%
Thu., 11/15/12 8:00 PM Celtics Nets TNT
1.4M
4.2M
-67%
10:30 PM Heat Nuggets TNT
1.6M
2.9M
-45%
Fri., 11/16/12 7:00 PM Jazz Sixers ESPN
1.1M
1.4M
-24%
9:30 PM Knicks Grizzlies ESPN
2.0M
1.7M
+22%
Wed., 11/21/12 7:30 PM Clippers Thunder ESPN
2.1M
2.1M
+2%
Mon., 11/26/12 7:15 PM Knicks Nets TNT
1.8M
no game
Thu., 11/29/12 8:00 PM Spurs Heat TNT
2.0M
1.0M
+108%
10:30 PM Nuggets Warriors TNT
1.2M
1.0M
+27%
Fri., 11/30/12 10:30 PM Nuggets Lakers ESPN
1.6M
0.5M
+202%
Wed., 12/5/12 8:00 PM Nuggets Hawks ESPN
1.1M
no game
10:30 PM Mavs Clippers ESPN
1.4M
no game
Thu., 12/6/12 8:00 PM Knicks Heat TNT
2.7M
7.1M
-62%
10:30 PM Mavs Suns TNT
1.2M
1.7M
-32%
Fri., 12/7/12 7:00 PM Celtics Sixers ESPN
1.4M
2.4M
-41%
9:30 PM Lakers Thunder ESPN
2.7M
1.5M
+81%
Tue., 12/11/12 7:00 PM Knicks Nets ESPN
1.7M
no game
9:30 PM Clippers Bulls ESPN
2.0M
no game
Wed., 12/12/12 8:00 PM Mavs Celtics ESPN
1.7M
1.9M
-9%
10:30 PM Spurs Jazz ESPN
1.5M
no game
Thu., 12/13/12 8:00 PM Lakers Knicks TNT
3.0M
1.7M
+81%
10:30 PM Spurs Blazers TNT
1.3M
1.3M
+1%
Fri., 12/14/12 8:00 PM Celtics Rockets ESPN
1.4M
2.5M
-43%
10:30 PM Grizzlies Nuggets ESPN
1.3M
2.8M
-53%
Wed., 12/19/12 7:00 PM Nets Knicks ESPN
1.7M
2.8M
-40%
9:30 PM Bucks Grizzlies ESPN
1.2M
1.8M
-32%
Thu., 12/20/12 7:00 PM Thunder T-Wolves TNT
1.7M
2.0M
-17%
9:30 PM Heat Mavs TNT
2.0M
1.7M
+15%