A double overtime game between two of the National Basketball Association’s most storied teams boosted ESPN’s Wednesday night ratings to its highest level in 18 years, back at the league’s dawn of the baggy shorts era.
Wednesday’s New York Knicks double overtime victory over the Boston Celtics averaged 1.96 million viewers, peaking with 2.87 million viewers from 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET. Overall, last night was ESPN’s most-watched season-opening doubleheader since 2017.
The doubleheader included the Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets, which averaged 1.74 million viewers. That was up 39 percent vs. 2020, up 10 percent vs. 2019 and up 22 percent vs. 2018.
The Knicks vs. Celtics game delivered a 3.5 rating in the New York market, making it the highest-rated national regular-season Knicks game telecast since 2017. The Knicks have revived in the last two years, making the playoffs last year and acquiring two key players in Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier in the off season, boosting fan hopes.
The game delivered a 4.0 rating in the Boston market.
This is the 75th Anniversary Season of the NBA and ESPN’s 20th consecutive NBA season.