The NBA Play-In tournament is generating a nice TV ratings bump at the end of the 2022-2023 regular season.
ESPN’s play-In doubleheader Wednesday night averaged 2.6 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2. That was up 14% from the comparable play-in games last season.
The Chicago Bulls vs. Toronto Raptors averaged 2,335,000 viewers, up 10% from last year‘s game.
ESPN2’s alternate telecast, “NBA in Stephen A’s World,” drew 152,000 viewers or 7% of the total audience.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New Orleans Pelicans averaged 2,858,000 viewers, up 17% from last year.
It ranked as the most-watched 9-seed vs. 10-seed game since the tournament began in 2021.
On Tuesday. TNT’s telecast of the Los Angeles Lakers-Minnesota Timberwolves averaged 3.47 million, according to Sports Media Watch.
The game pulled the second-largest TV audience in the tournament’s three-year history. The Lakers’ overtime win was up 29% from the comparable game last season.
Overall, this year’s Play-In Tournament delivered four of the league’s ten biggest audiences on cable TV this season. This year’s tournament concludes Friday night, with TNT’s telecast of Chicago Bulls-Miami Heat (7 p.m. ET) and ESPN’s broadcast of Oklahoma City Thunder-Timberwolves (9:30 p.m. ET).
The first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs tip off Saturday, April 15, with four games on ESPN and sister Disney broadcast network ABC.