TNT got off to a fast start with its NBA coverage, as the 2013-14 season opener between the defending champion Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls tipped before more than 5 million watchers.
Miami’s mauling of Chicago on Oct. 29 -- the game marked the return of Bulls' superstar Derrick Rose, who missed all of last season with a knee injury -- averaged a 3.3 U.S. household rating and 5.4 million viewers, making it the second highest-rated and most-viewed opening game in network history behind only the 2010 debut of the Heat’s Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. That Miami-Boston telecast on Oct. 26 of that year averaged 7.4 million viewers.
Peaking with a 3.7 U.S rating and 4.2 million viewers in the 10:30 p.m.(ET) quarter hour, the Miami-Chicago telecast -- the best regular-season matchup on the drama network since the aforementioned 2010 opener -- gave TNT the night across all cable networks.
TNT’s nightcap – the Los Angeles Lakers topped their Staples Center co-tenant the Clippers – averaged a 2.4 rating and 3.6 million total viewers. The telecast, with the Lakers competing minus injured star Kobe Bryant, peaked with a 3.2 rating and 3.8 million total viewers from 10:45 p.m.-11 p.m.
Tuesday’s doubleheader averaged a 2.9 rating and 4.5 million viewers and now stands as the second-highest-rated and watched opening night twinbill, trailing only the 2010 duo, which averaged a 3.5 and 5.5 million with the Lakers-Houston Rockets in tow.
Also, the doubleheader's delivery was up 125% among total viewers and 107% in rating compared with its average of 2 million watchers and a 1.4 mark across TNT's 52 regular-season telecasts last season.