The NBA Playoffs opened with an extension of the league’s hot viewership run this season, opening Saturday on ESPN and ABC with coverage up 17%, to rank as the highest-rated opening Saturday in five years, according to metered market ratings from Nielsen. The four-game slate averaged a 2.7 metered market rating with all four telecasts up year over year from their corresponding windows. Leading the pack with ABC’s coverage of the Warriors over the Spurs, with a 3.3 score and up 14%. Meanwhile, the 76ers victory over the Heat drew a 2.9 metered market rating, up 26%.
Overall, ESPN’s NBA viewership for the 2017-18 NBA regular season was up across platforms, with an average of 1,628,000 viewers across 87 game telecast this season, up 4%. Across all telecast, the NBA this year had its most-watched regular season in the US since 2013-14 with combined viewership across the league’s four national television networks finishing up 8% compared to last season.