Klay Thompson reacts to the Warriors' Game 4 win over the Kings. Apr 23, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) reacts after defeating the Sacramento Kings in game four of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The all-California NBA Playoffs first-round series between the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings is resonating with national audiences. As per Nielsen, ABC’s national broadcast of Sunday’s Game 4 of that series averaged 7.5 million viewers. That marks the highest number for any first-round game on any network in 21 years.

That game also received the typical Kings and Warriors local broadcasts on NBC Sports California and NBC Sports Bay Area respectively, so the numbers of people watching overall would be even higher. The ABC broadcast had a peak audience of 10.4 million, which came late in the Warriors’ 126-125 win. Here’s more on that from ESPN’s Ben Cafardo:

Of course, this game being on broadcast TV rather than cable makes a big difference. There’s a current Nielsen-estimated TV universe of 123.8 million homes, and ESPN was in 74 million homes last fall (with TNT probably reasonably similar; it was in 79 million homes, similar to ESPN, in January 2022). With that said, though, there have regularly been first-round playoff games on ABC since ESPN and ABC (along with TNT) took over national NBA rights ahead of the 2002-03 season. But this beat all of them, with the last game producing ratings of this magnitude that Lakers-Blazers Game 3 (back when first-round series were still a best-of-five) Cafardo mentions above.

It’s certainly notable to see these kinds of numbers for a particular game. And they add to what’s been a record-breaking start to the NBA Playoffs for ABC and ESPN (and also a multi-year high for TNT) so far.

[ESPN Press Room; top photo of the Warriors’ Klay Thompson’s reaction to the win from Darren Yamashita/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.