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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Early Round of NBA Playoffs Setting TV Records

  • Warriors-Kings was most-watched Round 1 game in 21 years.
  • ABC’s broadcast averaged 7.5 million viewers.
Warriors vs. Kings
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s early playoff TV ratings are peaking at the right time.

With the league set to begin 50 billion dollar negotiations for its next long-term cycle of media rights, NBA Playoff games are setting new viewership records.

ABC’s telecast of Game 4 of the Golden State Warriors vs. Sacramento Kings Sunday attracted the largest first-round audience across any network in 21 years, per Nielsen:

  • The telecast averaged 7,523,000 viewers – and peaked at 10,406,000 viewers during the 6 p.m. ET hour.
  • It was the most-watched first-round game since 2002 when the Los Angeles Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers, featuring the late Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, averaged 8,555,000 viewers. 
  • Previously, the NBA Playoffs drew its most-watched Opening Weekend in 12 years. Game telecasts averaged 4.15 million viewers across The Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN/ABC and Warner Bros. Discovery Sports TNT channels.
  • TNT will televise Game 5 of the Warriors-Kings matchup Wednesday night (10 p.m. ET).
  • During the upcoming media rights negotiations, ESPN/ABC and TNT will seek to retain their national TV rights to the NBA. If they can’t close the deal during an exclusive negotiating period, the NBA could open the bidders to NBC Sports, its former media partner, and giant streamers like Amazon Prime Video, Apple, and Google/YouTube.
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