ESPN and ABC combined for its most-watched opening weekend of the NBA Playoffs in 11 years, according to Nielsen. The five-game slate across Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17, averaged 4,170,000 viewers, up 32 percent from last year and the most since 2011.
The thrilling Boston Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets Game 1 on ABC generated 6,895,000 viewers, peaking with nearly 10 million viewers (9,847,000) in the 6 p.m. ET quarter hour. The game broadcast was up 51 percent from last year’s comparable game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns. It was also the most-watched first-round game since 2016.
The Golden State Warriors Game 1 victory over the Denver Nuggets on ABC averaged 4,520,000 viewers, up 16 percent from last year’s comparable game between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics. Overall, the two-game ABC average was at 5,715,000 viewers, up 34 percent from last year’s NBA on ABC first round coverage.
Additionally, ESPN’s three opening weekend games averaged 3,087,000 viewers, up 37 percent from last year’s first-round coverage. Game 1 of the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors series averaged 3,598,000 viewers, up 18 percent from last year’s first-round average.
The Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Game 1 on ESPN drew 3,358,000 viewers, while the Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks Game 1 on ESPN generated 2,335,000 viewers.
The 2022 NBA Playoffs Presented by Google Pixel continue this weekend with seven more games across ESPN and ABC. The commentator assignments and coverage details will be released soon.