ESPN’s broadcast of Victor Wembanyama’s NBA debut garners impressive TV ratings

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ESPN drew nearly three million viewers for Wembanyama’s NBA debut Wednesday night versus the Mavericks. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The Victor Wembanyama era is under way in the NBA and viewers tuned into the San Antonio Spurs’ much-hyped rookie’s debut on Wednesday night.

According to ESPN, the game between the Spurs and Dallas Mavericks averaged 2.989 million viewers for the 2023 no. 1 overall draft pick’s debut, with a peak of 3.903 million viewers at 10 p.m. ET

Wembanyama picked up five fouls but ended up playing a little over 23 minutes, recording 15 points, five rebounds, two assists, and one block.

The Mavericks were winners in the end, 126-119.

The NBA also touted some other highlights off the game:

  • It was the most watched non-Christmas Day Mavericks-Spurs regular season game on ESPN.

  • NBA League Pass viewership in France was up 220% compared to the 2022-23 regular season average.

  • Wembanyama videos have garnered 214 million video views, the most of any NBA player this season.

Per Sports Media Watch, the viewership for Wembanyama’s first NBA game was not far off from LeBron James’ debut in 2003, which drew 3.03 million viewers and was also on ESPN.

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