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Kobe Bryant tribute game second most watched in ESPN NBA history

According to Nielsen, the Bryant pregame ceremony averaged 5.23 million viewers. The audience peaked at 6.07 million between 10:45 p.m. and 11 p.m

By: AP | Los Angeles | Updated: February 4, 2020 2:28:42 pm
Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant Death, Kobe Bryant Tribute, Kobe Bryant Tribute Game, Kobe Bryant Tribute Game Viewers, Sports, Sports news, basket ball, basket ball news, Kobe Bryant news Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James while speaking to the crowd at Kobe Bryants Tribute Game. ( AP Photo)

The Los Angeles Lakers’ first game since Kobe Bryant’s death was the second most-watched regular-season NBA game on ESPN.

The game Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers averaged 4.41 million viewers. The only telecast to surpass that since ESPN resumed NBA coverage in 2002-03 was a January 2003 game between the Lakers and Houston Rockets that featured the first matchup between Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming (4.88 million).

According to Nielsen, the Bryant pregame ceremony averaged 5.23 million viewers. The audience peaked at 6.07 million between 10:45 p.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern, which was the conclusion of the ceremony and the start of the game.

LeBron James celebrates his ‘brother’ Kobe Bryant in emotional speech

By comparison, a game between Houston and the Denver Nuggets scheduled during a similar time slot last year averaged 1.6 million.

The “Hoop Streams” pregame _ which was streamed between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern had a record 2.4 million views, according to the network. The show is streamed on ESPN.com and its app as well as Twitter and YouTube.

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