In a year when even a mainstay like NFL football saw ratings declines, the NBA remains on a hot streak.
Yesterday’s start of the NBA Playoffs put up the best opening Saturday numbers in five years across ESPN and ABC, the Disney-owned networks said. Coverage increased 17% over last season’s start, according to metered market ratings from Nielsen. The four-game slate averaged a 2.7 metered market rating.
The ESPN broadcast of the Philadelphia 76ers’ win over the Miami Heat drew a 2.9 metered market rating, up 26%. On ABC, the Golden State Warriors’ trouncing of the San Antonio Spurs drew a 3.3 metered market rating, up 14% from last year’s Cleveland Cavaliers-Indiana Pacers matchup.
The Toronto Raptors victory over the Washington Wizards delivered a 2.1 metered market rating, up 17%, and in Saturday’s nightcap, the New Orleans Pelicans’ triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers rose 10% over last year. It generated a 2.3 metered market rating, compared with the LA Clippers-Utah Jazz game last year, which had a 2.1.
Cleveland hosts Indiana this afternoon in a first-round opener.
Coming off a highly rated NBA regular season, Disney is putting additional muscle into the playoff stretch, mobilizing Kobe Bryant’s show Detail as an enhancement to its other playoff coverage. The former NBA great’s show, which analyzes action on the court in more, well, detail, is an exclusive on the new stand-alone OTT service, ESPN+. In the second episode, which will hit the platform tonight, Bryant will analyze Saturday’s Raptors-Wizards game from the perspective of Raptors star DeMar DeRozan.