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DEC
26
3 YEARS

NBA Return Delivers High Ratings for ABC, ESPN and TNT

The Christmas opener between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks was one of the most-watched regular season games in cable history.

Knicks Celtics
Getty Images

The NBA officially rebounded from the season-delaying lockout of 2011 on Christmas day, with five games across three networks.

Fast affiliate ratings paint a positive picture for the outings, particularly the TNT opener between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks and ABC's broadcast of the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers.

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The TNT broadcast of Knicks victory over the Celtics ranks as the fourth most-watched regular season NBA game in cable history, averaging 5.9 million viewers and earning a 3.4 households rating 3.9 million households.

The highest-rated Christmas game in cable history, it naturally did well in team towns Boston (7.8 HH rating) and New York (7.2 HH rating).

On ABC, Bulls/Lakers game generated a 6.5 rating among households overnight, making it the network's third highest-rated regular season game ever. Metered markets gave it a whopping 17.4 HH rating in Chicago.

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Prior to that game, Miami and Dallas gave ABC a 5.6 households rating, a six percent jump over last year's Boston/Orlando game.

ESPN didn't have the day's big ticket games, but saw Christmas day ratings jumps with its broadcasts of Orlando and Oklahoma City at 8:00 p.m. ET (1.9 HH rating) and the L.A. Clippers and Golden State at 10:30 p.m. ET (2.3 HH rating). They were up 26 percent and 77 percent, respectively, over last year's games on the same day.