NBA’s TV Ratings Are Up, and NFL’s Are Down, Even on Christmas Day

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder works his way around Eric Gordon #10 of the Houston Rocketsduring the first half of a NBA game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Dec. 25, 2017 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

Photographer: J Pat Carter/Getty Images

The National Basketball Association’s annual Christmas games delivered some of their most successful overnight ratings in recent history. The league’s five games Monday, spread across ESPN, ABC and TNT, averaged a 3.35 overnight rating, up about 20 percent from last year’s Christmas games.

The early evening game on ABC -- Oklahoma City 112, Houston 107 -- drew a 4.1 overnight rating, the league’s highest for a prime-time Christmas game since 2003. In a rematch of last season’s championship, earlier in the day and also on ABC, the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-92. The game drew a 5.5 overnight rating, making it the fifth-best Christmas game on the network.

The NBA was also up against a pair of National Football League games. Unlike the NBA, which is working hard to fix its place in Christmas tradition, the NFL only plays on Dec. 25 every few years, depending what day of the week it is. 

The prime-time NFL game on ESPN, a showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders, drew a 6.7 overnight rating, down about 9 percent compared with the average Monday Night Football game this year.

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