ESPN and ABC are on pace to deliver their highest-rated and most-viewed NBA seasons as the 2010-11 campaign concludes Wednesday, April 13, on ESPN (according to Nielsen). ABC is averaging a 3.1 rating; 3,607,000 household impressions; and 5,268,000 viewers through 14 broadcasts. Through 71 games, ESPN is averaging a 1.5 rating; 1,543,000 household impressions; and 2,025,000 viewers. Both networks are on pace to surpass their previous record-setting seasons – ABC’s highest-rated and most-viewed season since its return to the sport in 2002-03 (2.6 rating; 2,826,000 household impressions; and 3,761,000 viewers); ESPN’s highest-rated season was 2003-04 (1.3 rating) and most-viewed season was 2008-09 (1,299,000 household impressions and 1,680,000 viewers).
The NBA on ABC is up 43 percent in viewership (3,694,000), 36 percent in household impressions (2,643,000) and 35 percent in ratings (2.3) over last season’s 15 broadcasts. ESPN is up 29 percent in viewers (1,571,000), 27 percent in household impressions (1,218,000) and 25 percent in ratings (1.2) compared to last year (through 73 telecasts).
Additional ratings highlights during the 2010-11 season:
- ESPN and ABC both netted their largest audiences ever for the NBA on Christmas Day;
- Miami Heat/Los Angeles Lakers was ABC’s highest-rated NBA Christmas Day broadcast since 2004;
- this season, ESPN posted 11 of its top 20 highest-rated NBA regular-season telecasts of all time (nine seasons);
- New York Knicks/Miami Heat on Feb. 27 became ESPN’s third highest-rated NBA regular-season telecast;
- Heat/Orlando Magic on Oct. 29 was the most-viewed opening week NBA game ever on ESPN.
NBA pregame shows on ESPN and ABC are also experiencing double-digit gains this season. ABC’s Buick Regal NBA Countdown is averaging a 40 percent spike in viewership (1,636,000 vs. 1,168,000), a 30 percent jump in household impressions (1,206,000 vs. 929,000) and a 25 percent increase in ratings (1.0 vs. 0.8). ESPN’s Kia NBA Countdown is posting gains of 33 percent in ratings (0.8 vs. 0.6), 24 percent in viewership (960,000 vs. 775,000), and 22 percent in household impressions (784,000 vs. 641,000).
The 2011 NBA Playoffs begin on ESPN and ABC on Saturday, April 16, and culminate with The Finals on ABC in June.
Significant Audience Gains for ESPN.com’s NBA section and ESPN3.com
ESPN.com’s NBA section has experienced significant audience increases this season, including a 36 percent increase in total minutes spent, a 28 percent climb in daily unique visitors and a 21 percent gain in page views. Additionally, total time spent consuming NBA games on ESPN3.com is up 175 percent over last year.