An average of 9.9 million people in the U.S. watched LeBron James choose his next basketball destination, according to data released by The Nielsen Company. At its peak, the ESPN broadcast was seen by 13.1 million viewers during the 9:15-9:30pm ET quarter hour, which included the moment that LeBron said he plans to take his basketball talents to the Miami Heat.
LEBRON JAMES AND ‘THE DECISION’ -TOP 10 LOCAL MARKETS RANK MARKET SHARE HOUSEHOLDS (000s) 1 Cleveland-Akron (Canton) 26.0 39 395 2 Columbus, OH 14.2 22 128 3 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 12.8 19 197 4 Washington, DC (Hagerstown) 11.9 20 277 5 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville) 11.0 17 122 6 Chicago 10.7 18 375 7 New York 10.4 17 777 8 Birmingham 9.4 13 70 9 Louisville 9.4 15 63 10 Dayton 9.3 14 45 Source: The Nielsen Company
Note: based on 9pm to 10:15pm ET telecast window on ESPN, 7/8/10
Here is more from our friends at Sports Media Watch:
The special ranks as the most-viewed non-NFL telecast on ESPN since USC/Ohio State last September (10.586 mil) and the third-most viewed non-NFL telecast on the network in the past twenty years.
Only the aforementioned USC/Ohio State game and Cubs/Cardinals in 1998 (when Mark McGwire hit his 61st home run of the season) drew more viewers, according to Sports Business Daily.
Keep in mind ESPN has aired countless marquee sporting events over the past two decades.
Only three NBA games on cable have ever drawn more viewers than The Decision did Thursday night -- the 2003 NBA All-Star Game and Games 4 and 5 of the Magic/Cavaliers East Final in 2009.
They've got more where that came from here.