The NBA season kicked off last to a four percent viewership increase. The first game, which featured the Pelicans vs. the Raptors, averaged 2.3 million viewers. The Clippers win over the Lakers later in the evening pulled in 3.6 million viewers.
The 2.9 million average TNT recorded last night has to be considered a win. Especially going up against Game 1 of the World Series, which drew 12.2 million viewers.
Even with an impressive start to the season, the prediction here is the NBA viewership will once again decline this season. Several of its top stars are out with injury, and some, like Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, are not expected to return this year. The messy China situation also could have a negative impact on the league's overall interest. Just look at how politics hurt the NFL's ratings. Another factor in this is the East. Three of the four teams that played last night represented the Western Conference. If you haven't yet seen, check out the East. Yep, not a single ratings draw on that side of the country.
But for the first night, this was a win for the NBA and everyone that used #ThisLeague last night.