According to data from Sports Media Watch, the 2023 NBA All-Star Game saw a decline in both viewer ratings and numbers compared to other editions of the showpiece. This came despite the Nigerian trio of Grammy award winners Burna Boy and Tems, and Rema performing in Salt Lake City during the half-time show.
Before the NBA All-Star Game, it was announced that three Nigerian superstars would headline the half-time show just as Rihanna had done in the Super Bowl a week prior. Following the conclusion of the first half, Toronto Raptors Cameroonian star Pascal Siakam acted as an announcer to herald the performance.
Burna Boy made his way to the stage first, performing hit songs such as “Last Last”, “Alone” and “It’s Plenty” while Greek-Nigerian star Giannis Antetokounmpo was among those in attendance due to his injury. After the African Giant’s performance, Rema stepped up to the stage and performed “Calm Down” and “Holiday” before Tems closed out the show with a medley of “Crazy Tings”, “Free Mind”, “Higher” and “Essence”.
Despite their high-quality performance, however, the NBA All-Star Game viewership dropped from 6.28 million viewers on TV to 4.59 million viewers. The decline also affected the entire All-Star weekend, including the Dunk Contest, Skills Challenge and Rising Stars Challenge. It was only the Celebrity Game that garnered more viewers than it did last year.
Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum set a new All-Star Game record of 55 points, beating the previous record set by Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis in 2017. The game also saw a first win for Antetokounmpo as captain against Team LeBron, with both Giannis and LeBron James missing out on significant chunks of the game through injury.
The 2023 NBA All-Star Game was bereft of a number of stars, including Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, both of whom missed out through injury.