NBA All-Star weekend viewership up double digits

Nearly 3.5 million viewers tuned into the game, which followed a new format to drive greater competition and excitement.

More Canadians tuned into the 2020 NBA All-Star game last weekend than any other year since 2016, with average viewership of the weekend-long event up 28% compared to last year.

In Canada, nearly 3.5 million viewers watched some portion of the 2020 All-Star events broadcast, up 14% from 2019, while the number of hours of programming watched grew 37% over the same period.

The 69th annual NBA All-Star event, held in Chicago this year, included a “NBA Rising Stars” and “All-Star Celebrity Game” on Friday, followed by a series of skills competitions on Saturday. The weekend concluded with the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.

This year, Saturday night coverage on SportsNet ONE was up 64% over the network’s Saturday coverage two years ago. Meanwhile, the TSN Sunday broadcast of the main event drew the highest audience of any NBA All-Star game since 2016, when Toronto was the host city.

In January, the NBA announced a new format for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game designed to “increase the level of competition throughout the game, provide additional excitement at the finish and make the outcome of every quarter count for charity.”

Each team competed to win each of the first three quarters, all of which were set at a score of 0-0 and 12-minutes long. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the game clock was turned off and a final target score was set. The target score was determined by taking the leading team’s cumulative score through the three quarters and adding 24 points – in honour of Kobe Bryant, the former basketball star whose jersey number was 24 and who was killed in a helicopter crash in January.

More than $1 million was awarded to local  charities by the NBA over the course of the weekend.