From our friends at ESPN New York:
What lockout? NBA fans were not only back on Sunday, but back in a bigger bunch.
From 12 to 2 p.m. yesterday, more sports fans were watching the NBA than ever before on TV. Knicks-Celtics, which opened up the 2011-12 season, scored a 3.4 U.S. rating and 5.9 million total viewers (5.86 million to be exact), the highest amount for a Christmas Day game on cable. It was up 48 percent in ratings and 46 percent in viewership from last year’s comparable Xmas game (Chicago at New York = 2.3, 4m), and up 100 percent and 121 percent, respectively, from Xmas in 2009 (Miami at New York = 1.7, 2.7m).
Knicks-Celtics ranked as the fourth most-watched during the NBA regular season in cable history. Only three games, all broadcast by TNT, delivered a higher audience for an NBA regular-season game on cable than yesterday's New York-Boston matchup. They include:
* Miami at Boston on Oct. 26, 2010 (7.35 million total viewers)
* LA Lakers at Chicago on Feb. 2, 1996 (7.27 million)
* Miami at Cleveland on Dec. 2, 2010 (7.01 million)
Locally, the Knicks-Celtics game delivered a 7.2 U.S. household rating in New York and a 7.8 household rating in Boston.
Hop HERE to check out ESPN New York's Knicks Blog.