- Double-Digit Audience Increases on ESPN; New NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC Franchise Delivers Strong Numbers
- NBA on WatchESPN Sees Significant Growth; 527 Million Total Minutes of NBA Action Streamed This Season
Viewership and ratings for the 2015-16 NBA regular season were up on both ABC and ESPN, compared to last season, according to Nielsen. After 16 NBA games on ABC, including the company’s new NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC series and a Christmas doubleheader, the network averaged 3,926,000 viewers (p2+) and a 2.3 U.S. household rating. This is up nine percent and five percent from 3,588,000 viewers and a 2.2 rating last season.
At the conclusion of 76 NBA games on ESPN, the network averaged 1,652,000 viewers (p2+) and a 1.1 U.S. household rating. Both metrics are up 10 percent from 1,504,000 viewers and a 1.0 rating last season.
ESPN’s and ABC’s new franchise – NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC presented by La Quinta – consistently scored for the company in its inaugural season. The eight-game series averaged 3,466,000 viewers (p2+) and a 2.1 U.S. household rating. NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC won the night across all of television five times in key male and people demos.
In addition, NBA Countdown – ABC’s NBA pregame show – averaged 1,556,000 viewers (p2+) and a 1.0 U.S. household rating, up 26 percent and 11 percent from 1,232,000 viewers and a 0.9 rating last season.
Continued WatchESPN growth
The WatchESPN audience was also up for the 2015-16 NBA regular season, compared to last year. A total of 527 million minutes were streamed, 12 percent more than the previous three seasons combined. In total, WatchESPN averaged 4,600,000 total minutes streamed per game, up 77 percent from the 2014-15 regular season. Additionally, it captured an average of 140,000 unique viewers per game and an average minute audience of 37,000, up 75 percent and 90 percent year over year.
ABC and ESPN Highlights:
- In its inaugural season, NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC was home to the most-watched (non-Christmas) regular-season NBA game on any network since 2014 when the Golden State Warriors met the Oklahoma City Thunder (Feb. 27, 2016: 5,322,000 viewers, p2+).
- ESPN televised its most-watched (non-Christmas) regular-season game in more than two years, since 2014, when the Golden State Warriors set the NBA record for most wins in a season against the Memphis Grizzlies (April 13, 2016: 3,649,000 viewers, p2+).
- ESPN2 delivered its most-watched NBA game in its history when Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers played in his final game against the Utah Jazz (April 13, 2016: 3,465,000 viewers, p2+).
- The most-watched game this season across any network was the Christmas NBA Finals rematch between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers on ABC. It averaged 11,160,000 viewers (p2+) and is the fourth-most watched regular-season game on any network as far as records go back.
- Six of the 10 most-watched NBA regular-season games ever on WatchESPN transpired this season, including the top two simultaneously on April 13, 2016: the Utah Jazz at the L.A. Lakers (average minute audience of 138,000) and the Memphis Grizzlies at the Golden State Warriors (average minute audience of 111,000).
The 2016 NBA Playoffs will start and finish across ESPN networks, beginning with a quadruple-header this Saturday, April 16, including the 73-win Golden State Warriors’ playing host to the Houston Rockets on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET. More details, including a full schedule and commentator assignments, are available on ESPN Media Zone.