Anticipation heading into the Christmas Day matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors translated to television ratings as the broadcast delivered a combined 6.5 metered market rating on ESPN and ABC.
It matched the fourth-highest rated Christmas game ever on ESPN and ABC, and was the highest-rated Christmas primetime game on the networks. Additionally, the ratings were up 97 percent from last season’s comparable game.
Overall, 2018 became the highest-rated NBA Christmas Day of the ESPN and ABC era (since 2002), based on combined overnight ratings from Nielsen. Though, that does not take into account the 2011 lockout-shortened season that began on Christmas.
ESPN’s and ABC’s coverage of this year’s five-game Christmas schedule generated a combined 18.7 metered market rating, which is an increase from a 16.0 rating last year.
When LeBron James signed a four-year contract with the Lakers in free agency, one of the prevailing storylines was the forthcoming matchups with the Warriors. They’ve met in each of the past four NBA Finals, with James clawing out one victory while a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This was also a fourth consecutive Christmas Day in which James faced the Warriors, and he’s now 2-2 in those meetings. However, it came at a cost as the 16-year veteran suffered a strained groin.
James is now tied for second all-time with nine wins on Christmas, while the Lakers (23) broke a tie with the New York Knicks for most victories on the holiday. The Lakers have played in 20 straight Christmas games.
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