TNT Sees Big Decline for NBA Opening Night Doubleheader

The absence of LeBron James on TNT’s opening night NBA doubleheader resulted in heavy ratings declines for the Turner net.

TNT’s doubleheader on Tuesday, featuring the defending champion San Antonio Spurs defeating in-state rival Dallas Mavericks followed by the Houston Rockets blowing out the Los Angeles Lakers, averaged just 2.36 million viewers, a drop of 47% from last year’s opening night.

This was the first time since 2007 — not including the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season — that TNT’s opening night doubleheader did not feature LeBron James; TNT will carry James’ first home game as a Cleveland Cavalier on Thursday, when they take on the New York Knicks.

Individually, the Spurs-Mavericks game drew 2.3 million while the Rockets-Lakers matchup attracted 2.4 million.

Unlike last year, TNT’s doubleheader had to face off against the sixth game of the World Series, which drew 13.4 million viewers.