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Nets boffo box office leads to new national TV game

New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

On Wednesday, TNT added yet another game to their national TV schedule. The Nets-Wizards game at Barclays Center on December 21, the return of Spencer Dinwiddie to Brooklyn, will now be televised on TNT. It will replace the originally scheduled Pacers-Heat game.

And why not? The Nets and their superstars keep proving they’re among the top draws on national television, generating big numbers for TNT and ESPN.

Tuesday’s Warriors-Suns and Nets-Knicks averaged 2.1 million viewers, making it the most watched non-Opening Might NBA regular season doubleheader since 2019. Nets-Knicks averaged 1.8 million viewers on TNT, peaking at 2.7 million in the fourth quarter. It was also TNT’s best local market rating for a regular-season Knicks or Nets game in the city since 2017.

The Warriors-Suns game averaged 2.4 million viewers, making it the most watched game of the season other than Opening Night when the Lakers-Warriors drew 3.4 million. It surpassed the previous high set two weeks earlier when the Nets-Warriors game drew 2.3 million viewers on TNT.

That newly added Wizards-Nets game on TNT will not be seen in New York, however. The game will be on YES but blacked out on TNT. That’s because, as Brian Lewis explained in a series of tweets, The Nets have reached their limit of 12 national games - the first time in their history that has ever happened. National broadcasters (not counting NBA TV) can make 12 games exclusive — that is, blacked out locally.

Overall, NBA national TV game ratings are up over both 2020 and 2019, the last season not affected by the global pandemic.