The Los Angeles Lakers’ victory over the Indiana Pacers in the Finals of the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament averaged 4.58 million viewers on ABC and ESPN2. According to Nielsen, it was the most watched non-Christmas regular season NBA game in nearly six years, since February of 2018.
Viewership peaked around 8 p.m. PT with 5.68 million viewers. The average audience was up 46 percent from last year’s comparable window, the debut of NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC, which featured an NBA Finals rematch between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics.
The Championship game between the Lakers and Pacers was the most-watched program in primetime and among all key demographics for Saturday, Dec. 9. The overall audience was also up 64 percent from last season’s NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC average.
While the game itself aired on ABC, NBA Unplugged with Kevin Hart aired on ESPN2 and garnered almost 10 percent of the overall audience. Additionally, NBA Countdown, the pregame show on ABC was up 30 percent from last year’s comparable pregame show prior to that NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC debut.
Of course the Lakers would come out victorious over the Pacers with a 123-109 victory. Lakers’ superstar Anthony Davis was an absolute dominant force as he finished with 41 points, 20 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in the victory.
LeBron James also continued his excellent play with 24 points and 11 rebounds on his way to being named the inaugural In-Season Tournament MVP. Both James and Davis were named to the inaugural All-Tournament team as well. Additionally, Austin Reaves fought off an illness to pour in 28 points off the bench.
The Pacers were led by rising superstar point guard Tyrese Haliburton, whose stock grew immensely throughout this tournament with his play. Another All-Tournament Team selection, Haliburton finished with 20 points and 11 assists while guard Benedict Mathurin added 20 points off the Pacers bench as well.
Lakers to raise In-Season Tournament Championship banner on December 18
To commemorate their In-Season Tournament Championship, the Los Angeles Lakers have decided to raise a banner in the rafters of the Crypto.com Arena on Dec. 18 when they host the New York Knicks.
There were initially questions as to whether or not they would do so as the Lakers traditionally only raise banners for NBA Championships. However, the franchise wanted to recognize this accomplishment, though it will be differentiated from their standard championship banners.
The In-Season banner will be a different shape and color, and any future In-Season Tournament Championships will be added to that single banner.
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