The Los Angeles Lakers' victory over the Indiana Pacers in Saturday's inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament Championship Game from Las Vegas averaged 4,580,000 viewers on ABC and ESPN2, making it the most-watched non-Christmas NBA game during the regular season on any network in nearly six years, since February of 2018, according to Nielsen.
Viewership peaked with 5,680,000 viewers at 11 p.m. ET. The average audience was up 46 percent vs. last year’s NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC season debut, which is the comparable window (Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors).
The audience for the NBA In-Season Tournament Championship Game was also up 64 percent from last season’s NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC average. It was the most-watched program in primetime and among all key demographics for Saturday, December 9.
The traditional game broadcast aired on ABC, while NBA Unplugged with Kevin Hart, the alternate presentation, aired on ESPN2. NBA Unplugged with Kevin Hart garnered nearly 10 percent of the overall audience in in its debut.
NBA Countdown, ABC’s pregame show, averaged 2,060,000 viewers prior to the Championship Game. It was up 30 percent compared to the comparable window last year – the pregame show for NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC season debut.
The Lakers defeated the Pacers, 123-109, at the T-Mobile Arena to earn the NBA Cup and a $500,000 prize for every player on their roster. LeBron James was named the In-Season Tournament MVP after contributing 24 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, while shooting 47.6% from the field.