ESPN and ABC aired a total of five games in the opening weekend of the 2017 NBA Playoffs and they couldn’t be happier with the results. ABC’s telecast of Golden State’s victory over Portland on Sunday brought the network 6.52 million viewers. Adding the streaming audience of 105,000, it’s the network’s most-watched NBA Playoff opening weekend game  ever.

And the game peaked in the final quarter-hour of the game with an audience of 9.14 million viewers. The overall numbers are up 22% from the corresponding game in 2016, Game 1 of the Cleveland-Detroit series.

ABC says the two games it aired averaged a TV plus streaming audience of 5.382 million viewers, up 5% from last year.

As for ESPN, its Saturday tripleheader averaged a total live TV and streaming audience of 2.976 million viewers. That is up 11% from its opening tripleheader in 2016.

ESPN says through five games, viewership averaged 3.957 million viewers and that is yet another increase from 2016, a total of 11%. On TV only, the games averaged 3.865 million viewer, 8% higher than last year.

The Worldwide Leader is pleased that streaming numbers led to the most-streamed opening weekend ever.

So overall, ESPN and ABC had a very good opening weekend and with the networks airing a total of seven games this weekend between Friday and Sunday, it has reason to believe that its momentum from the first weekend will carry over to its second week of coverage.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.