On Christmas Day, the National Basketball Association had five nationally scheduled games which aired on ABC and ESPN. Perhaps as a sign of the state of the NBA among the masses, the ratings were spectacular - another example of why sports broadcast rights sell for so much money these days.
The game between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers drew a 5.9 overnight rating, which became the best numbers ever for an ABC Christmas Day game. The 3 p.m. game drew the highest overnight rating in this window since 2004, up 11 percent from the 2010 contest between the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic. In New York, the game drew the third-highest rating ever for a regular season NBA game on ABC in the market, with a 9.2 rating. It did even better in Los Angeles, drawing an 11.9 rating, which was the sixth-best rating for an NBA regular season game on ABC in the market.
The 5:30 p.m. game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat did even better, drawing a 6.0 overnight rating and becoming the fourth highest-rated NBA regular season game ever on ABC. In Oklahoma City it did a 23.2 rating. 23.2! In Miami it delivered a 15.9 rating. Both ratings are the highest ever in those markets for a regular season game on ABC.
The other games - Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Clippers; Houston Rockets at Chicago Bulls; and Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets all did between 1.7 overnight ratings and 2.7 overnight ratings. They were on much earlier and much later than the two previously mentioned games.