NBA In-Season Tournament Final Becomes Most-Watched Regular Game in Over 5 Years

‣ The inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament Final between the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers was the most-watched regular-season non-Christmas Day game on any network in over five years, peaking at 5.68 million viewers.
‣ The in-season tournament final was the most-viewed NBA League Pass game in history, with viewers watching more than 1.5 hours of the game on average. The final also garnered more than 2.2 billion video views across the NBA’s social-media accounts and app.
‣ The Lakers plan to hang another banner at Crypto.com Arena to recognize winning the inaugural in-season tournament in Las Vegas, with a different design than their championship banners.

Details

The Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers faced off in the NBA In-Season Tournament Final last Saturday. The game ended up being the most-watched regular-season non-Christmas Day game on any network in over five years.

Wow, right? The audience peaked at 5.68 million viewers on ESPN, according to the network.

Compared to last year’s game in the same timeslot on the same weekend, viewership was up by a staggering 46 percent. Ratings jumped 44% and viewership 46 percent from a Celtics-Warriors 2022 NBA Finals rematch in the same window last season (1.7, 3.14 million).

Now, let’s talk odds. According to a few NBA betting sites, the Los Angeles Lakers hold the fifth-best odds to win this season’s championship. But the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Phoenix Suns are showing better odds at sportsbooks.

ESPN had something to say about the In-Season Tournament title game. They tweeted that it was the most-watched regular-season non-Christmas Day game on any network in 5+ years. The audience peaked at 5,680,000 viewers for the Lakers-Pacers game, according to the network.

The in-season tournament final averaged a 2.5 rating and 4.58 million viewers across ABC (2.2, 4.14 million) and ESPN2 (0.26, 439,000). This marked the largest NBA audience before Christmas Day and the NBA playoffs since opening night in 2017 (Celtics-Cavaliers – 5.60 million).

Although the Pacers-Lakers game outperformed the 2023 Heisman Trophy ceremony on ESPN (2.31 million), it fell short against the Army-Navy matchup (7.18 million) on CBS at 3 p.m. ET. The title game might not have been the most-watched sports event, but it was close enough.

The game was the most-viewed NBA League Pass game in history, with viewers watching more than 1.5 hours of the game on average. Plus, the final garnered more than 2.2 billion video views across the NBA’s social-media accounts and app. That’s an 80 percent increase versus last year’s regular-season games.

TNT’s Lakers-Pelicans telecast on Dec. 7 delivered the most-watched NBA regular season game since opening week. It averaged 2.2 million viewers across TNT, TBS, and truTV. The max viewership for the Lakers’ in-season tournament semifinals win was a 66 percent increase over TNT’s average December game telecast last year.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been pushing for an in-season tournament for years. The goal was to increase ratings in the first half of the regular season. Based on the final numbers coming in, it was a huge success.

“I want to thank all the players in the league, the coaches and of course the teams for embracing this new concept,” Silver said. “I know it doesn’t come without challenges. There’s no doubt there’s some things that we’re learning this time through. Overall, we’re thrilled with the interest we’ve seen so far this season.”

TNT Sports’ Lakers/Pelicans telecast last night delivered the most-watched NBA regular season game since Opening Week, averaging 2.2 million viewers across TNT, TBS, truTV & Max. Viewership for the Lakers’ IST Semifinals win was +66% over TNT’s average Dec game telecast last year.

The Lakers plan to hang another banner at Crypto.com Arena to recognize winning the inaugural in-season tournament in Las Vegas. However, the organization wants the NBA Cup title banner to have a different design than their championship banners.

“We have an insatiable desire and passion to bring banner No. 18 here,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said at the time, referring to his team’s record-tying 17 NBA titles.

L.A. will unveil the banner at its next home game on Monday, Dec. 18 against the New York Knicks. The Lakers will also honor LeBron James and Anthony Davis for being named to the in-season all-tournament team.

NBA sportsbooks show James with ninth-best odds to win NBA Clutch Player of the Year this season. Oddsmakers are giving better odds to Damian Lillard, Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and other stars.

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

Related NBA News