This year’s NBA Playoffs got off to a strong start, chalking up the highest-rated opening Saturday since 2013 for ESPN and ABC, the companies announced, citing metered market ratings from Nielsen. The networks’ coverage Saturday was up 17%, with the four-game slate averaging a 2.7 metered market rating and all four telecasts up year over year from their corresponding windows.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ win over the Miami Heat drew a 2.9 metered market rating, up 26 percent from last year’s San Antonio Spurs-Memphis Grizzlies game. The Sixers-Heat telecast was the highest-rated opening Saturday game on ESPN in six years (since 2012).
On ABC, the Golden State Warriors’ win over the Spurs drew a 3.3 metered market rating, up 14 percent from last year’s Cleveland Cavaliers-Indiana Pacers matchup, which drew a 2.9.
The Toronto Raptors’ Game 1 victory over the Washington Wizards delivered a 2.1 metered market rating, up 17 percent from the Raptors-Bucks game last year that drew a 1.8. In Saturday’s nightcap, the New Orleans Pelicans’ Game 1 win over the Portland Trail Blazers generated a 2.3 metered market rating, up 10 percent from the LA Clippers-Utah Jazz game last year (2.1).
The announcement notes that ESPN and ABC’s NBA audience was up across platforms for the 2017-18 regular season.