As it turns out, star power really is what drives the sports industry.
Tuesday night’s thriller of a game between the LA Clippers and Brooklyn Nets averaged 1.7 million views, according to the New York Post’s Brian Lewis. The game was TNT’s first Tuesday night game of the season. These ratings mark a 28% increase from last season’s first Tuesday night game (1.3 million viewers).
It makes sense that a game involving Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving would draw in a lot of eyeballs—that’s essentially half of an All-Star game. It also helped that the game was close and exciting, coming down to the wire and ending in a narrow Nets' victory.
In general, the Nets have been appointment viewing since adding Harden. YES Network, the Nets’ local broadcast partner, reported Tuesday that their ratings have gone up astounding 69% since trading for the former Houston Rocket. The network is now averaging 122,000 viewers per local game, up from 72,000 prior. They’ve actually surpassed the New York Knicks in viewers, despite just moving to the city nine years ago.
The Clippers are also a big draw. According to Hoopshype, the Clippers averaged 1.6 million viewers for nationally televised regular-season games last season (up a ridiculous 80% from the prior season—thanks PG and Kawhi). However, unlike the Nets, the Clippers were unable to surpass their big brother same-city rival, as the Lakers brought in an average of 2.14 million viewers during that same span.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of ratings round two of Clippers-Nets will bring in. The two teams will face off on February 21.