ESPN had its most-watched NBA opening night in 11 years and its second-most watched opening night ever, according to Nielsen.
Viewership for the season-opening doubleheader was up 80% from last year. The first two games of the season on ESPN generated an average audience of 2,756,000 viewers, up from 1,532,000 viewers in 2022.
The Boston Celtics' victory over the New York Knicks averaged 2,552,000 viewers, peaking with 4,351,000 viewers at 9:45 p.m. ET. It was the most-watched ESPN season-opening early game since 2012 and up 76% from last year’s early game (New York Knicks vs. Memphis Grizzlies).
The nightcap, which featured the debut of Victor Wembanyama, averaged nearly 3 million viewers (2,989,000) as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the San Antonio Spurs. It peaked with 3,903,000 viewers at 10 p.m. ET. It was up 83% vs last year’s comparable game (Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns) and is the most-watched season-opening ESPN late game since 2012. Excluding Christmas Day, it is the most-watched Spurs or Mavericks regular-season game ever on ESPN.
The NBA also announced that NBA League Pass viewership was up 220% vs. last year's regular-season average. Wembanyama is also driving a ton of views across social media. Since the start of the 2023-24 NBA preseason, Wemby has generated 214 million video views, the most of any player over that span.
The NBA on ESPN was the most-watched primetime programming across all of television – broadcast and cable – for October 25 amongst people under 50, adults 18-34, adults 25-54, males 18-34, males 18-49 and males 25-54.