The opening weekend of the 2023 NBA Playoffs was the most-watched ever on Disney platforms, according to Nielsen. The five-game slate – two games on ABC and three games on ESPN – averaged 4,280,000 viewers, up three percent from last year, setting the combined ABC and ESPN opening weekend audience record. ESPN and ABC have televised the NBA Playoffs since the 2002-03 season.
The Sacramento Kings victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 averaged 6,257,000 viewers, making it the most-watched opening Saturday night playoff game ever on ABC. It peaked with 7,562,000 viewers from 11-11:15 p.m. ET. It was up 38 percent vs. last year’s comparable game between the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets. Warriors vs. Kings Game 1 was the most-watched program of the day across all of television and in all key demos.
The Warriors vs. Kings game generated a 14.1 rating in the Sacramento market, making it the highest-rated Kings game on ABC or ESPN since 2004.
ABC’s two opening weekend games averaged 5,911,000 viewers, up three percent from last year. Game 1 of the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies series on Sunday averaged 5,544,000 viewers, peaking with 7,494,000 viewers from 5:15-5:30 p.m.
ESPN averaged 3,107,000 viewers for its three-game opening weekend slate, up one percent from last year. The New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Game 1 led the way with 3,908,000 viewers, up nine percent from last year’s comparable game (Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors). It was the most-watched program of the day across cable in viewership and in all key demos on Saturday. The ESPN three-game average also includes ESPN2’s NBA in Stephen A’s World alternate presentation for the Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers game.
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