9:51am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: Surging NBA Gives ESPN and ABC a Merry Christmas
LeBron James is likely still feeling a little sour about going to work Christmas Day just to lose the Cleveland Cavaliers' 2017 NBA Championship rematch against the Golden State Warriors, but the Walt Disney Company isn't complaining.
Facing fewer NFL games this year, early scores for ABC's and ESPN's Christmas Day basketball coverage climbed an impressive 39 percent from 2016 scores. The four games averaged a 3.0 overnight rating among metered market households, peaking with the Warriors-Cavaliers afternoon matchup. That game scored a 5.5 rating among metered markets, matching the fifth-highest rating for an early ABC window ever on Christmas.
The primetime game brought a more notable record, however, scoring ABC's best Christmas evening rating since 2003. Oklahoma City's narrow win over the Houston Rockets brought a 4.1 rating among metered market households.
ESPN's two games weren't too shabby either — with the 76ers-Knicks game pulling a 2.4 rating and the Wizards-Celtics game earning a 3.7 rating.
ABC easily won primetime on Christmas Day, though NBC put up a valiant effort for the No. 2 spot with its annual encores of the 1966 and 2000 versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.