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Bronny James’ NBA Summer League debut sets new mark for ESPN

Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

We can debate whether or not Bronny James has done enough, or anything, to garner the amount of coverage he’s been receiving from ESPN and other sports media outlets, but there’s no denying that viewers are interested in watching him.

On Saturday, James made his NBA California Summer League debut when the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Sacramento Kings. The Kings won 108-94 and the younger James finished the game with four points, two rebounds, two assists, and one steal. He shot 2-of-9 from the field and 0-of-3 from three-point range in his 22 minutes on the court.

While the stats might not have been notable and the game’s outcome fairly meaningless, that didn’t stop viewers from tuning in. Via Sports Media Watch, the game averaged 534,000 viewers on ESPN. The network confirmed that number to Awful Announcing as well.

That makes it ESPN’s largest audience ever for a non-Vegas Summer League game. It might not be Caitlin Clark numbers but it’s not nothing, especially given the context.

ESPN has put a lot of effort into hyping up James and discussing his place on the Lakers roster alongside his dad LeBron James. It appears to have paid off in the short term, at least. Between the Bronny-LeBron situation and the arrival of new head coach JJ Redick, the Lakers are likely to give ESPN plenty to talk about this NBA season. We’ll see if that continues to translate to big numbers, even if LA doesn’t live up to the hype on the court.

[Sports Media Watch]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.

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