In fact, the 2023 NBA Playoffs are the most-watched on ESPN platforms in 11 years. The network announced on Tuesday that through the first three rounds, viewership is through the roof.
In a press release, ESPN touted its viewership following the completion of the Western Conference Finals. The NBA Playoffs on ESPN platforms have averaged 5.579 million viewers, which is up nine percent from last year.
Through the first two rounds, Disney was averaging 5.226 million viewers over 27 games, which was the most-watched first two rounds ever for the company. So, average viewership has been up in the Conference Finals, even though the Denver Nuggets swept the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-game series.
Monday night’s series-clinching victory by the Nuggets over the Los Angeles Lakers averaged 8.209 million viewers and peaked with 11.482 million viewers from 11-11:15 p.m. According to the network, it was the most-watched NBA Conference Finals Game 4 on the company’s platforms in eight years, since 2015. And that came at a time when neither series was particularly close.
Since the last time ESPN hosted the Western Conference Finals on its platform, viewership for the event is up 44 percent. And that was a series between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers, which went six games. Viewership is also up 17 percent from last year’s WCF, which included the Golden State Warriors, a significant ratings draw.
The NBA Finals begin on Thursday, June 1 on ABC.
[ESPN; photo from Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports]