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NBA Scores Largest Christmas Day Audience Ever

A Dec. 25 double-header gave ABC and ESPN the highest cumulative viewership for the holiday.

The NBA's Christmas day double-header gave ESPN and ABC its highest cumulative audience ever.

ABC's double-header averaged a 5.5 Nielsen fast national rating, and ESPN's three telecasts averaged a 1.8 household rating, the highest averages for either network when airing multiple NBA games on Christmas Day. Compared to last year's slate of five games, household ratings were up 45 percent on ABC (5.5 vs. 3.8) and 20 percent on ESPN (1.8 vs. 1.5).

ABC's matchup between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers (5 p.m. ET) delivered a 6.4 fast national rating, a 45 percent jump over last year's game (Cleveland-L.A. Lakers – 4.4 rating), and the network's highest rating for an NBA regular season game since Christmas Day in 2004 (Heat-Lakers -- 7.3 rating). ABC's Boston at Orlando broadcast (2:30 p.m.) garnered a 4.6 fast national rating, an increase of 39 percent over last year's matchup featuring the same teams (3.3 rating).

ESPN's Christmas Day game between the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls (at noon) averaged a 2.7 fast national rating, up 42 percent over the Miami-New York telecast last year (1.9 rating).

The first of ESPN's evening doubleheaders (Oklahoma City Thunder-Denver Nuggets at 8 p.m.), delivered a 1.4 fast national rating (up 27 percent over last year's L.A. Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns telecast -- 1.1 rating), while the Portland Trail Blazers-Golden State Warriors game averaged a 1.3 fast national rating (even with last year's rating for Denver-Portland).