Ratings Roundup: Most-Watched NBA Christmas Day Since 2011; Full Rundown of College Bowls

On Christmas, the Golden State Warriors’ 89-83 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on ABC, a rematch of the most-watched NBA Finals in ABC history, drew nearly 11 million viewers (10,923,000, p2+), according to Fast Nationals from Nielsen. It was up 17% from the comparable game in 2014 (Cavaliers-Heat, 9,328,000 viewers, p2+). The Warriors-Cavaliers telecast was the most-watched NBA Christmas Day telecast since 2011.

NBA-Xmas-DayThe average audience for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s victory over the Chicago Bulls on ABC was also up from last year, averaging nearly six million viewers, (5,962,000 p2+). This was up from 5,885,000 viewers (p2+) for the Spurs-Thunder telecast on ABC in 2014. The ABC Christmas Day doubleheader average was up 13% from 2014, averaging an audience of 8,629,000 viewers (p2+) compared to 7,648,000 viewers (p2+) last year.

This year’s five-game slate averaged 5,546,000 viewers (p2+) up 6% compared to last year’s five-game slate (5,217,000 viewers p2+),  which saw just three games on ABC and ESPN combined. Also, viewership for all five games on ABC and ESPN was up from 2013, the last time ABC and ESPN combined for a five-game Christmas Day slate

NBA Christmas Day delivered ESPN’s second-most watched prime-time doubleheader ever, and matched ESPN’s second most-watched tripleheader ever, averaging 3,324,000 viewers (p2+) and 3,413,000 viewers (p2+), respectively.

NBA Christmas Day on WatchESPN also recorded 34 million total minutes streamed across five Christmas Day games. All five Christmas Day games in 2015 were up year-over-year from 2014. The Golden State-Cleveland generated 11 million total minutes streamed, the most ever for a Christmas Day game and more than every Christmas game on ABC and ESPN combined in 2014….

College Bowls Roundup
Visit SportsMediaWatch for their in-depth breakdown of every bowl game rating, but here is a brief overview of how Bowl games have fared through Christmas Eve (all bowls aired on ESPN unless otherwise noted):

  • Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. W. Michigan (12/24) – 2.1 million viewers, up 43% from last year’s inaugural edition feature Central Michigan and Western Kentucky (1.5M).
  • Hawai’i Bowl: San Diego State vs. Cincinnati (12/24) – 1.6 million viewers, down 14% from Rice/Fresno State last year (1.9M)
  • San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl (12/23) –  Boise State vs. NIU – 1.4 million viewers, down 44% from Navy/San Diego State last year (2.5M)
  • GoDaddy Bowl: Georgia Southern vs. Bowling Green (12/23) – 2.4 million viewers, up 72% from Toledo/Arkansas State last year (1.4M)
  • Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Akron vs. Utah State (12/22) – 1.1 million viewers, down 26% from Air Force/Western Michigan last year (1.5M)
  • Marmot Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo vs. (24) Temple (12/22) – 2.0 million viewers, down 13% from last year’s inaugural edition between Marshall and Northern Illinois (2.2M)
  • Miami Beach Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. USF (12/21) – 1.2 million viewers, down 13% from last year’s inaugural matchup between BYU and Memphis (1.3M).
  • AFR Celebration Bowl: Alcorn State vs. North Carolina A&T (12/19) – Numbers not available for non-Nielsen rated CBSSN game
  • Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Arizona vs. New Mexico (12/19) – 1.8 million viewers, down 4% from Utah State/UTEP last year (1.9M)
  • Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (12/19) –  BYU vs. (22) Utah – 2.2 final rating and 3.7 million viewers on ABC, up 57% in ratings and 73% in viewership from Utah/Colorado State last year (1.4, 2.1M)
  • Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Ohio vs. Appalachian State (12/19) – 1.9 million viewers, up 66% from last year’s inaugural game between Bowling Green and South Alabama (1.1M)
  • AutoNation Cure Bowl: San Jose State vs. Georgia State (12/19) – Numbers not available for non-Nielsen rated CBSSN game
  • R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech (12/19) – 1.5 million viewers, down 37% from UL-Lafayette/Nevada last year (2.2M)

NFL Week 16 Overnights
Also head over to SportsMediaWatch.com for full rundown of the Weeks 16 NFL overnights, which included a 10.5 overnight for ESPN’s Bengals/Broncos Monday Night Football (up 1% from a 10.4 for the same matchup last year), an 11.5 overnight NBC’s Giants/Vikings Sunday Night Football game (down 10% from 12.8 for Seahawks/Cardinals last year), an 11.0 overnight for CBS’s single-header on Wednesday (up 10% from last year’s 10.0 on Fox), and a 16. 8 overnight for Fox’s national window featuring Packers/Cardinals in 92% of markets (up 14% from last year on CBS).

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