NBA fans were pretty excited to see the Miami Heat open the defense of their second straight title against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.
The opening game of the season averaged 5.4 million total viewers on TNT, according to Nielsen overnights, becoming the second-most-watched NBA opener ever.
It finished behind only the 2010 Heat opener, when LeBron James made his debut with Miami. That game drew 7.4 million viewers.
Tuesday’s 8 p.m. game also drew a 3.3 household rating.
TNT televised a second contest at 10:30 p.m. between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, which drew a 2.4 rating and 3.6 million viewers.
The telecast probably would have drawn higher ratings if star guard Kobe Bryant had played. He is injured.
The doubleheader averaged a 2.9 rating and 4.5 million viewers, boosting TNT to No. 1 in primetime among all cable networks.
It was also the second-highest-rated opening night in TNT history, behind only 2010.
The games spurred a lot of social media activity, with 2.7 million NBA-related tweets, the most for any broadcast or cable program last night.
The night’s top cable programs:
18-49s: 1. TNT’s “NBA Basketball” (8:09 p.m.) 2.5; 2. FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” (10 p.m.) 2.2; 3. TNT’s “NBA Basketball” (10:46 p.m.) 1.8.
Total Viewers: 1. TNT’s “NBA Basketball” (8:09 p.m.) 5.37 million; 2. FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” (10 p.m.) 4.20 million; 3. TNT’s “NBA Basketball” (10:46 p.m.) 3.57 million.
Source: Media Life Magazine, 10/31/13