NBA Playoffs Opening Weekend Delivers Highest Ratings In More Than Decade

Opening weekend of the NBA playoffs were viewed more than at any time over the previous decade, drawing an average of 4.05 million viewers for games on ABC, ESPN and TNT.Jayson Tatum

A big reason for that, of course, was Game 1 between the Celtics and Nets, which featured stars such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown (Boston), and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn). 

Per the NBA, ABC averaged 6.9 million viewers for the game, peaking at 9.8 million. And it delivered, with Tatum making a last-second basket to lift the Celtics to a 116-115 victory.

The ratings for opening weekend were the highest they’ve been since 2011, when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh former the original “Big Three” with the Heat.

“Ranking second for the weekend, Bucks-Bulls averaged a 2.2 and 4.77 million on TNT Sunday night — the largest opening round playoff audience on cable since 2018 (Cavaliers-Pacers Game 4: 6.07M),” wrote Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch.

Lewis also noted, “Ratings jumped 34% and viewership as much as 59% from Hawks-Knicks last year (1.7, 3.00M*) and 39% and 79% respectively from Pistons-Bucks in 2019 (1.6, 2.66M).”

Courtesy NBA Communications

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