NEW YORK — The Nielsen Co. estimates that 9.95 million people watched LeBron James announce on ESPN that he’s leaving Cleveland to play for the Miami Heat, making it the third-most-watched program on cable television this year.
“The Decision” that aired Thursday night ranks behind the 12.3 million who watched the NFL Pro Bowl and 11.2 million who watched an episode of “ICarly” on Nickelodeon in January.
The special was of particular interest in Cleveland, where an estimated one in four homes with televisions tuned in.
James’ future can’t yet compare to Kobe Bryant’s present, however. More than 28 million people watched Bryant win his fifth championship last month in the seventh game of the NBA Finals between the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics.