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LeBron James, Steph Curry—And This Newcomer—Dominated NBA Social Media. And These Teams All Sold Out Their Seasons

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Updated Apr 15, 2024, 05:20pm EDT

Topline

Twelve NBA teams sold out every single game in the regular season as the league posted its second record-breaking attendance year in a row, the league said Monday, and newcomer Victor Wembanyama shot to success in his first professional year to become the third most popular player on NBA social media accounts.

Key Facts

An average of 18,324 fans attended each of the regular season games this year, up from the average of 18,077 last season, and there were 873 sold out matchups representing 71% of all regular-season games, up from 63% in the 2022-2023 season.

The total attendance for this year's regular-season NBA games was 22.5 million, up 1.4% from the 22.2 million who went in-person to games in the 2022-2023 season, which also broke a record.

The season also made a star of one league newcomer—the San Antonio Spurs' Wembanyama—who shot up in popularity to become the third most-popular player on NBA social media accounts with 1.3 billion views. Wembanyama fell in online hype to legacy stars LeBron James (1.9 billion views) and Steph Curry (1.7 billion views), but topped the Mavericks' Luka Don?i? (1.2 billion) and Kyrie Irving (662 million).

He was also responsible for the second most-viewed play on NBA social and digital media platforms—his December dunk against the Celtics (and almost over the head of Boston guard Derrick White) was viewed 247 million times, only behind the Dallas Mavericks’ March alley-oop that scored 250 million views.

The list of top-five most-watched plays was rounded out by an Anthony Edwards backboard pass to himself in January (140 million views), an impressive display of ball handling skills by Steph Curry against the Grizzlies that same month (126 million) and a Curry pump-fake-to-three-pointer against the Lakers (96 million).

Big Number

12. That’s how many teams sold out every single game in the regular season: the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz. The teams with the least attended games this season were the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks, according to ESPN.

What To Watch For

The Play-In Tournament for the NBA, which will send two of four teams (Lakers, Pelicans, Warriors and Kings) to the playoffs, will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Surprising Fact

The NBA isn't the only sports enterprise to have hit record attendance numbers lately. The U.S. Open broke its two- and three-week attendance records in 2023 and became the first tennis Grand Slam to see more than 95,000 fans appear in person. The MLB in October announced it had a total season attendance of 70.75 million, an almost 10% increase over the year before and the largest number since 2017, and the 2022-2023 season was also one for the WNBA books—the league ended last season up 16% from the year before.

Update: This piece has been updated to reflect the NBA's latest data.

Further Reading

NBA.com: NBA CommunicationsNBA breaks all-time records for total attendance, average attendance, percentage of capacity and sellouts in 2023-24 regular season - NBA.com: NBA CommunicationsESPN.com2023-2024 NBA Attendance - National Basketball Association - ESPNForbesNBA Valuations 2023
ForbesSelecting The 2024 All-NBA TeamsForbesThe Case For Every Play-In Team To Make A Deep Playoff Run
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