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NFL Outperforms NBA on Christmas Day

December 25th is supposed to be basketball time, but...

Sacramento Kings v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Millions of people viewed the NBA on Christmas Day broadcasts in 2022. The annual holiday slate is commonly described as the start of the “real” NBA season, though the actual schedule begins in October, two months prior. Christmas Day is traditionally the biggest single day of viewership for the league each year.

That will likely remain true this season as well, but the festivities got put into perspective when compared with numbers from the NFL, who also played on Christmas, by virtue of the holiday falling on a Sunday this year.

Ari Meirov of MySportsUpdate, a site covering the NFL tweeted out viewership numbers for both leagues. The story wasn’t pretty for the basketball guys. All five NBA games together totaled around 21.5 million viewers. The game between the Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins registered 25.9 million viewers alone, and it was one of three on the NFL’s slate that day. The game between the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams also outperformed the NBA’s entire schedule all by itself.

Here is Meirov’s complete list.

NFL and NBA viewership numbers from the Christmas games:


Packers-Dolphins: 25.92M

Broncos-Rams: 22.57M

Bucs-Cardinals: 17.15M


76ers-Knicks: 4.04M

Lakers-Mavericks: 4.33M

Bucks-Celtics: 6.03M

Grizzlies-Warriors: 4.70M

Suns-Nuggets: 2.49M

Adding to the pain: many of the viewers of the NBA schedule would be repeat households rather than individual participants, as some viewers tune into early and late games both. Not so of the single NFL contests.

The news isn’t all grim for the NBA. Rick Ellington of Sports Business Journal reports that the aggregate viewership in 2022 represents a 5% increase from Christmas Day, 2021.