NBA Playoffs See Mostly Strong TV Ratings For Opening Weekend
The NBA’s strong regular-season TV ratings continued into the first weekend of the postseason. ABC led all telecasts over the weekend with a 4.4 overnight for yesterday afternoon's Pacers-Cavaliers Game 1, flat from last year's Warriors-Trail Blazers Game 1 in the same window (4.4 rating), which fell on Easter Sunday. TNT saw a mixed bag for its slate of three games yesterday. Last night's T'Wolves-Rockets game led the way for the net with a 3.1 overnight, but that was down 16% from a 3.7 rating for the comparable Rockets-Thunder matchup last year. TNT earned a 3.0 overnight for yesterday's Jazz-Thunder Game 1 from 6:30-9:00pm ET, also down slightly from a 3.2 for Celtics-Bulls last year. TNT did see a ratings increase for its opener yesterday afternoon, which featured the Celtics beating the Bucks in an OT thriller. The game drew a 2.2 overnight, up 29% from a 1.7 for Wizards-Hawks Game 1 last year. Meanwhile, ESPN and ABC averaged a 2.7 rating Saturday for a slate of four games, up 17% from the comparable schedule last year. ABC led the way Saturday afternoon with a 3.3 overnight for the Warriors’ rout of the Spurs in Game 1, up 14% from a 2.9 for Cavs-Pacers in the same window last year. ESPN drew a 2.9 overnight on Saturday evening for the 76ers’ rout of the Heat, up 26% from Spurs-Grizzlies in the same window last year (2.3 rating). Heat-76ers marked the highest-rated opening Saturday game for ESPN in six years. Meanwhile, Saturday’s Wizards-Raptors Game 1 drew a 2.1 rating on ESPN (+17% from last year), while Pelicans-Trail Blazers drew a 2.3 overnight (up 10% from ’17). Sunday ratings from the Detroit and Greensboro markets were excluded due to a Nielsen delay.