Mamba went out. The Warriors bested the Bulls. It was certainly a historic week in basketball for sports fans around the world.
And it was especially epic for fans of Nike-sponsored athlete Kobe Bryant, who scored a stunning 60 points in his last game with the Los Angels Lakers, and Under Armour partner Stephen Curry, who led his Golden State Warriors to their record-breaking 73rd win of the regular season, while simultaneously besting his own 3-pointer record.
Nike, in particular, went all out to mark Bryant’s swan song, handing out piles of merch to premium ticket holders in the Staples Center:
And Under Armour touted the Warriors’ win on Twitter with an array of Curry signature sneakers:
But which athletic brand got the biggest boost from these amazing athletic performances? Let’s consult the numbers.
According to Nielsen, the Warriors game, which was broadcast on ESPN, pulled in an average national audience of 3.6 million viewers, eager to watch Curry and his crew defeat the Memphis Grizzlies and break the Chicago Bulls’ 20-year-old record for most NBA victories in a regular season.
The Lakers game against the Utah Jazz, meanwhile, aired on ESPN2 and was that channel’s most watched NBA game ever, with a national audience of 3.4 million viewers. While that number is lower than the Warriors total, it swelled to 5.1 million viewers after the game, as fans tuned in to watch Bryant’s farewell speech.
Online, both games were available on ESPN’s streaming platform, but Bryant (and by extension Nike) won the larger share of viewers: 134,000 to Curry (and UA’s) 111,000.
So on TV screens and monitors, Nike and Bryant seemed to have the bigger week. But what about social media? Did awe for Curry’s monumental feats rule the postings? Sorry, nope. The Kobe love flew fast and furious this week from celebrities, athletes and fans alike — and even reportedly caused a brief Twitter outage.
But don’t feel too bad for Under Armour and Curry. The NBA playoffs tip-off this weekend, with the Warriors facing the Houston Rockets, and there are sure to be plenty more “electric” moments.