NBA Viewership Soars In First Round Of 2023 Playoffs

rsz 230501084048 01 steph curry warriors kings 043023
rsz 230501084048 01 steph curry warriors kings 043023

The NBA had one of its best two-week stretches in the last decade since the 2023 Playoffs began. The first round featured entertaining match ups, intriguing storylines, and unforgettable upsets, and there were plenty of people taking in the action, according to the viewership numbers that have come in.

NBA: 9.8 Million Tune In To Game 7 Between Warriors And Kings

The two biggest draws of the first round were the matchups between the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks, and the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings. The first featured just the 6th upset of an 8-seed over a 1-seed in NBA history, with Jimmy Butler grabbing headlines with his unreal performances on his way to averaging 37 points per game in the series.

The series between the Northern California rivals was billed as must-see basketball, and it lived up to the hype. The Kings pushed the defending champion Warriors to 7 games, where the legend of Steph Curry grew with his 50-point, record-breaking performance.

As luck would have it for the league, both of their prime playoff attractions were in action on Sunday, and there weren’t a lot of other sports to tune in to.

The Heat took on the Knicks in the early game. Miami stayed in control for most of the contest and held on for the victory, but the story was Butler’s ankle injury. The Heat’s upset of the Knicks coupled with the questions surrounding Miami’s star player had social media buzzing.

Butler, Curry Performances Fuel Viewership

As soon as that game ended, the highly-anticipated Game 7 between the Kings and Warriors tipped off. The contest played exactly a week earlier was the most-watched first-round game in NBA history, and it was thought that Game 7 would surpass it.

And it did. Steph Curry’s performance was watched by 9.8 million people, making it the most viewed first-round broadcast in the NBA in 24 years. Added in with the earlier action in the day, and the NBA App saw more active users on April 30th than any day in its history, according to the league’s communications department.

The first round as a whole was a raging success for the league. Across all of the broadcasting partners, the league saw the most viewership across the first two weeks of the playoffs in nine years, and “won the night” across all of TV on 13 of the 14 game nights.

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