ESPN’s telecast of “The Decision,” when NBA superstar LeBron James announced his decision to join the Miami Heat, generated a 7.3 overnight rating from 9-10:15 p.m. ET. The 7.3 is the highest overnight rating for any non-NFL ESPN program this calendar year. Additionally, based on overnights, last night’s ESPN telecast was the highest-rated program of the night (cable or broadcast).
The telecast peaked with a 9.6 rating from 9:15-9:30 p.m., when James officially made the announcement. The top three local markets were Cleveland (26.0 metered market rating); Columbus (14.2) and Miami (12.8). Chicago ranked sixth with a 10.7 rating and New York ranked seventh with a 10.4 rating.
Last night’s telecast exceeded the audience for ESPN’s exclusive interview with Tiger Woods on Sunday, March 21, 2010, which posted a 0.4 metered market rating for SportsCenter from 6-8 p.m. and peaked with a 0.8 rating from 7:45-8 p.m. It also trumped ESPN’s exclusive interview with Alex Rodriguez on Monday, Feb. 9, 2009, which generated a 0.9 metered market rating (6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter).
LeBron Coverage Across ESPN Digital Media Platforms
James’ decision attracted more than 300,000 unique viewers on ESPN3.com, one of the largest audiences ever for a non-World Cup match. ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile Web had more than three million unique visitors from 9-10 p.m. Additionally, visitors spent nearly 130 million minutes on the ESPN.com home page, ESPN.com NBA section, ESPN Mobile Web home page and ESPN Mobile Web NBA section throughout the day.