SALT LAKE CITY — NBA basketball returned to Utah on Christmas Day for the first time in more than two decades and it didn’t disappoint.
Not only did the Utah Jazz’s 117-96 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers produce a sellout crowd of 18,306 fans at Vivint Arena, but the 8:30 p.m. MT telecast also did well in front of a national ESPN television audience.
The Jazz-Blazers matchup was the highest-rated Christmas game in the late window across all networks since 2015, according to ESPN.3 comments on this story
Utah’s game against Portland was up 36 percent from last year’s Los Angeles Lakers versus Minnesota Timberwolves Christmas Day nightcap, with a 1.5 metered market rating, per ESPN Media Zone.
Overall, the five-game slate was the highest-rated NBA Christmas Day numbers since 2002 of the ESPN and ABC era.
The Jazz hadn’t hosted a holiday game since 1997 and Portland was playing on Christmas for the first time since 2010.
“It’s great,” said Jazz forward Thabo Sefolosha. “I think it shows the improvement of the team, the commitment of the organization to make a good culture, good team here and it’s working.”