Lakers/Celtics Earns Smallest TV Audience Since Garnett Trade

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With both teams battling just to make the playoffs, several stars sidelined, and a lopsided final score, it should be no surprise the Lakers/Celtics rivalry attracted fewer viewers Thursday night.

Thursday’s Lakers/Celtics NBA regular season game drew 2.6 million viewers on TNT, down 16% from the teams’ meeting on the comparable date last year (3.1M), and down 7% from Heat/Magic in 2011 (2.8M).

The game ranks as the least-viewed between the Lakers and Celtics since Kevin Garnett joined the Celtics in August 2007. The previous low was 2.9 million for a February 2010 game that started at 10:30 PM ET, aired opposite the Winter Olympics, and did not include an injured Kobe Bryant.

Later Thursday night, another blowout between the Bulls and Nuggets earned just 1.3 million viewers — down 32% from Thunder/Kings last year (1.9M), and down 57% from Spurs/Lakers in 2011 (3.0M).

So far this season, 48 of the 70 NBA games that can be compared to last season* have had declines in viewership.

Viewership For Lakers/Celtics Regular Season Games
Since Kevin Garnett was traded to Celtics in 2007

Season
Date
Time
Away
Home
Net
Viewers
2012-13
Thu., 2/7/13 8:00 PM Lakers Celtics TNT
2.6M
2011-12
Sun., 3/11/12 3:30 PM Celtics Lakers ABC
4.0M
Thu., 2/9/12 8:00 PM Lakers Celtics TNT
3.1M
2010-11
Thu., 2/10/11 8:00 PM Lakers Celtics TNT
4.7M
Sun., 1/30/11 3:30 PM Celtics Lakers ABC
7.0M
2009-10
Thu., 2/18/10 10:30 PM Celtics Lakers TNT
2.9M
Sun., 1/31/10 3:30 PM Lakers Celtics ABC
5.7M
2008-09
Thu., 2/5/09 8:00 PM Lakers Celtics TNT
4.3M
Thu., 12/25/08 5:00 PM Celtics Lakers ABC
10.0M

* Games from October 30-December 25 compared to 2010-11, games from December 25-present compared to 2011-12.

* UPDATED 2/15: In original version of post, comparisons were made to the wrong week in 2011.

(Thu. numbers from TV By the Numbers)

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