ESPN announced that its telecast Thursday night of “The Decision,” in which NBA superstar LeBron James announced his decision to join the Miami Heat, generated a 7.3 overnight rating in households from 9-10:15 p.m. ET.
The 7.3 is the highest overnight rating for any non-NFL ESPN program this calendar year, according to the network. Additionally, the ESPN telecast was the highest-rated program of the night, for cable or broadcast, based on overnights.
The telecast peaked with a 9.6 rating from 9:15-9:30 p.m., when James officially made the announcement, the network reported. The top three local markets were Cleveland (26.0 metered market rating); Columbus (14.2) and Miami (12.8). Chicago was sixth with a 10.7 rating and New York ranked seventh with a 10.4 rating.
The numbers topped the audience for ESPN’s exclusive interview with Tiger Woods on 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. The telecast also trumped ESPN’s exclusive interview with Alex Rodriguez on Feb. 9, 2009, which had a 0.9 metered market rating (6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter).
James’ decision attracted more than 300,000 unique viewers on ESPN3.com, one of the platform’s largest audiences ever for a non-World Cup event.