Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry April 30, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates against the Sacramento Kings during the third quarter in game seven of the 2023 NBA playoffs first round at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs is in the books, and the league has set a variety of multi-year highs.

Overall, the round averaged 3.4 million viewers across ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV. That’s up 15% from last year’s first round, and is the NBA’s most-watched first round in nine years.

Sunday’s Game 7 between the Warriors and Kings also carried a lot of freight for the league. That game averaged a stunning 9.8 million viewers, good for the most-watched first round game in 24 years (Kings-Jazz Game 5 in 1999 averaged 11.21 million on NBC, per Sports Media Watch). Additionally, that’s the most-watched audience for a non-Finals ABC NBA playoff game.

The Kings-Warriors series also drove Disney to an average first round audience of 4.5 million viewers, the company’s most-watched first round ever.

TNT averaged 3.5 million viewers for their first round games, their most-watched first round in five years.

Earlier Tuesday, Warner Bros. Discovery announced record viewership for the first round of the NHL playoffs, averaging 959,000 viewers across TBS and TNT. That’s the most-watched first round on cable ever.

Ultimately for the NBA, this is a white hot start that the league will look to maintain throughout the rest of the playoffs. The Lakers-Warriors series, which begins Tuesday on TNT, could be the one that drives the highest viewership in the second round, especially with Game 3 in primetime on ABC Saturday. But both matchups in the East, Heat-Knicks and 76ers-Celtics, probably shouldn’t be discounted either.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.