The NBA saw a big ratings boon for the first round of the playoffs — seeing a 46% increase from last year’s first-round and a 3% jump from 2019. The league announced Tuesday the games averaged 3.06 million viewers across ESPN, TNT and ABC.
The jump comes as the NBA had been hammered in recent months for declining viewership. The league’s ratings were down 13% entering the final week of the regular season, according to Sports Business Journal.
But the league has bounced back.
The NBA‘s first-round averaged nearly 2 million more viewers compared to the regular season (3.06 million to 1.34 million).
The timing of this year’s first-round is more in line with the NBA’s normal calendar compared to last year’s pandemic-affected season. In 2020, the NBA started its postseason in August and ran until October — overlapping with football.
According to Sports Media Watch, Sunday’s Game 7 between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers was the most-watched game of the first round — averaging 5.49 million viewers. That was a 62% jump from last year’s Game 7 between the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz. Both games aired on ABC.