Enormous Audience for Yi vs Yao

by Marcel Mutoni

Most of you reading this probably won’t be tuning in, because really, a Bucks game in November is not the easiest thing to stomach, but tonight’s Bucks/Rockets tilt could very well be the most watched basketball game this season. And most of the audience will reside outside of the U.S.

That’s because two of China’s biggest sports icons (Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian) will be facing off in the NBA for the first time. From the Houston Chronicle:

The game will be on 19 networks in China, including CCTV-5, Guangdong TV, Guangzhou TV, and ESPN Star Sports in Hong Kong and Taiwan. It also will be available live through two Webcasters.

Though ratings estimates in China are difficult and vary widely, today’s game is said to be certain to draw 150 million viewers and could reach 250 million. CCTV-5 alone is available in 210 million households.

200 million viewers for a meaningless game in November?! Stunning.

Maybe David Stern knew what he was doing all along when he began to aggressively globalize this League nearly 20 years ago.

(HT: Awful Announcing)