NBA Play-In Tournament Warriors Kings Apr 16, 2024; Sacramento, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) dribbles the ball next to Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray (13) in the second quarter during a play-in game of the 2024 NBA playoffs at the Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The first two NBA Play-In Tournament games this week drew strong viewership for the league.

Per a note from TNT Sports, Tuesday’s two games marked the most-watched games of the 2023-24 season on cable, along with the best average viewership for a Play-In Tournament in its brief history (2021 was the first year).

Additionally, the two games ranked as the second and third most-watched Play-In Tournament games ever.

The nightcap, which saw the Kings fend off the Warriors to end their season, averaged 4.05 million viewers. The early game, which saw the Lakers secure the seventh seed and bounce the Pelicans to Friday’s win-or-go-home game, averaged 3.91 million viewers. Both games aired on TNT with an NBA BetCast simulcast on truTV.

As you’d expect, the vast majority of the audience for both games watched on TNT. The truTV BetCasts averaged just 96,000 viewers (Lakers-Pelicans) and 111,000 viewers (Warriors-Kings), respectively.

The most-watched Play-In Tournament game was a Lakers-Warriors game back in 2021, which averaged 5.62 million viewers on ESPN.

The two games were the most-watched sports events of the day by a significant margin. Aside from the two games and shoulder coverage, the most-watched sports programming was either WWE NXT (625,000 on USA), if you consider pro wrestling a sport, or Pardon the Interruption (535,000 on ESPN). The most-watched live game was a Maple Leafs-Panthers NHL game on ESPN, averaging 316,000 viewers.

Viewership data for Wednesday’s Play-In Tournament games on ESPN, Heat-76ers and Hawks-Bulls, is not yet available.

[Data via Sports Media Watch]

About Joe Lucia

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