Kobe Bryant Jersey Retirement Night Provides Spike In Lakers TV Ratings
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

In what was the most anticipated Los Angeles Lakers game this season, Kobe Bryant was honored by the organization as his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys were retired. Bryant became the 10th player and 11th individual overall (Chick Hearn) the Lakers have immortalized in the rafters.

However, Bryant is the first to have two jersey numbers retired, a fitting recognition considering he stands as the only player to spend the entirety of a 20-year career with the Lakers. The night, which began with a ‘Kobeland’ festival outside Staples Center, drew record TV ratings.

It was Spectrum SportsNet’s highest ratings since Bryant’s final game on April 13, 2016. That night, “Access SportsNet: Lakers” recorded a 2.00 household rating and 143,665 viewers.

For Bryant’s retirement ceremony night, the pregame show had a 1.56 rating and 122,032 viewers. Additionally, SportsNet’s broadcast of the game recorded a 5.13 household rating and 464,114 viewers.

That’s compared to the 5.68 rating and 514,945 viewers SportsNet drew for Bryant’s final game in which he scored 60 points to lead a comeback win against the Utah Jazz.

Turner also announced record ratings for their broadcast of the retirement ceremony on NBA TV. The allure of Bryant helped deliver the network’s most-watched game this season with an average of 622,000 viewers.

While the Lakers remain in their rebuild, they’ve now been a TV draw on multiple occasions this season. Their game against the Boston Celtics drew 2,698,000 viewers, which at the time was the second-most watched NBA game on ESPN this season.

More recently, the Lakers game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden had a 1.5 metered market rating, an increase of 36 percent from last year’s comparable game.

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