In-Season Tournament

NBA’s in-season tournament championship game set ratings mark not seen in nearly 6 years

NBA's in-season tournament championship game set ratings mark not seen in nearly 6 years

The NBA in-season tournament championship game was one of the most-watched games in years.

The championship game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night was the most-watched non-Christmas regular-season game the NBA has had on any network in nearly six years, ESPN announced Tuesday.

The game, which the Lakers won 123-109 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, averaged 4.58 million viewers on ABC and ESPN2. The game peaked at about 5.68 million viewers, and was up 46% from last year’s season opener. The normal broadcast of the game aired on ABC, while an alternate broadcast with comedian Kevin Hart aired on ESPN2 — similar to the “ManningCast” during “Monday Night Football.” That alternate broadcast accounted for about 10% of the total audience.

The Lakers, behind a 41-point, 20-rebound night from Anthony Davis, flew past the Pacers to win the in-season tournament title. LeBron James was the tournament MVP after averaging 26.4 points, eight rebounds and 7.6 assists throughout. He also shot 60.6% from the 3-point line in all seven of the Lakers’ tournament wins. Every Lakers player and coach received a $500,000 bonus for winning the event, and all Pacers players and coaches received $200,000.

The Lakers beat the Pacers to win the inaugural NBA Cup on Saturday night in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

As a result of their win, the Lakers announced plans to hang a banner at Arena to commemorate the title. That banner celebrating the NBA Cup will be unveiled Monday.

While there are plenty of ideas on how to improve the in-season tournament in the coming years — some of which are better than others — there’s no doubt the first attempt was a success.


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