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NBA Playoffs Draw Most-Watched Opening Weekend In 12 Years

  • Kings-Warriors was most-watched game of the entire season.
  • Most-watched Opening Saturday game since 1997.
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The NBA Playoffs are off to a fast start, with the league posting its most-watched opening weekend in 12 years.

Last weekend’s NBA Playoff telecasts averaged 4.15 million viewers this weekend across The Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN/ABC and Warner Bros. Discovery Sports TNT channels.

That was up 3% from last year — the highest since 2011, according to Sports Media Watch.

The Kings’ Game 1 victory over the defending Golden State Warriors on Saturday drew the biggest audience of the weekend. The ABC telecast averaged 6.26 million viewers, up 38% from last year’s comparable Warriors-Denver Nuggets game. The telecast (peak at 7.56 million viewers) also ranks as the most-watched NBA telecast of the season, topping Milwaukee Bucks-Boston Celtics on Christmas Day.

  • Kings-Warriors also ranks as the most-watched opening Saturday game since the New York Knicks-Charlotte Hornets averaged 6.77 million in 1997. It trails only the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics on Easter Sunday of 2022 (6.9 million) and Warriors-Portland Trail Blazers (6.52 million) for the most-viewed opening weekend game, on any day, for the past 20 years.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers Game 1 win over the Memphis Grizzlies was the weekend’s second most-watched NBA Playoff game. ABC’s Sunday afternoon coverage averaged 5.54 million viewers. That was down 20% from last year’s comparable Nets-Celtics. But Sports Media Watch noted last year’s game was played on Easter Sunday.
  • TNT’s coverage of the Los Angeles Clippers’ win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday was the third-most watched game of the weekend, averaging 5.04 million viewers. That was up a full 25% from Suns-New Orleans Pelicans last year. TNT’s telecast also ranked as the top show of the weekend for viewers 18-49 years old.

The league said this year’s opening weekend was also the most-watched ever on the NBA app, NBA social platforms and NBA League Pass.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s Game 1 of the battle of Northern California between the Warriors and Kings was one of the most expensive NBA Playoff games ever, with an average purchase price of $668 on TickPick.

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