It may have taken until the All-Star break, but the NBA finally has some good ratings news. Sunday’s All-Star Game, which featured a radical new format, scored for Turner with 7.3 million viewers, an 8% increase from last year.
That 7.3 million is across both TNT and TBS, which simulcast the game. Last year’s game was simulcast across both networks as well.
The game, which was won 157-155 by Team LeBron over Team Giannis, peaked in the fourth quarter, which ran commercial-free, with 8 million viewers. The NBA is coming off of a first half of the season that saw ratings dip by double-digits across the board.
This year’s All-Star Game featured an overhauled format, which included resetting the score at the start of the second and third quarters, and a new “target score” finish, which honored the late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
Here’s how it worked: The two teams, led by captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, competed to win each of the first three quarters (with the score beginning at 0-0 in each), with a $100,000 going to a charity of the winning team’s choice. Team LeBron won the first quarter, while Team Giannis won the second quarter. The squads tied for the third quarter.
For the fourth quarter, both teams’ scores will be tallied up through the first three quarters (like a typical game) and the game clock was turned off. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Team Giannis led 133-124, and the “Target Score” was set at 157, adding 24 (in honor Bryant) to Team Giannis’ total. Team LeBron rallied to win 157-155.
Los Angeles’ other star, the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard, took home the All-Star Game MVP award, which was renamed after Bryant this year.
Overall, TNT garnered a 15% viewership increase for its All-Star weekend coverage, including All-Star Saturday Night and Friday’s Rising Stars game.