The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

ABC, ESPN see viewership increase with NBA games in 2023

The audience for ABC and ESPN-televised NBA games has gone up 16 percent in 2023 compared to 2022, according to Nielsen data.

The audience for ABC and ESPN-televised NBA games has gone up 16 percent in 2023 compared to 2022, according to Nielsen data.

(Stock image via Pexels, Graphic by The Desk)

Viewers are tuning in to National Basketball Association (NBA) games on ABC and its cable sports network ESPN, according to Nielsen figures released last week.

Overall, viewership of NBA games on ABC and ESPN is up 16 percent this year compared to last year, with more than 1.712 million people watching the first 29 games of the 2023-2024 season compared to 1.469 million who tuned in during the same period last season.

Viewership across the key demographic of sports fans between the ages of 18 and 34 years old is also up this year, with a 26 percent year-over increase in the audience associated with that group, according to Nielsen.

Additionally, ESPN and ABC’s pre-game show “NBA Countdown” is seeing 3 percent more viewers this year compared to last, with an average of 664,000 viewers tuning in to watch coverage from throughout the NBA prior to each game, according to Nielsen.

ABC is wholly-owned by the Walt Disney Company, which also owns a controlling 80 percent stake in ESPN (shared with Hearst Television, which owns 20 percent of the cable network). ABC and ESPN share national telecast rights to NBA games with Warner Bros Discovery’s TNT Sports, which makes TNT-aired games available on the streaming service Max.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).