Stephen Curry and the Warriors are delivering big TV ratings for the NBA. Tom Pennington/Getty Images The NBA playoffs have featured an unusual amount of blowouts. Despite the lopsided games, TV ratings are up across the board.
Fan interest may be up thanks to two recognizable teams in the Celtics and Warriors. The 2022 NBA playoffs have largely lacked the drama associated with the biggest games of the year, but that hasn’t stopped fans from tuning in. Across both conferences, viewership is up during these playoffs, despite an unusual number of blowouts.
Over eight conference finals games — four between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat and four between the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks — only two have been decided by fewer than 10 points. But even those weren’t compelling nailbiters: The Heat beat the Celtics by six in Game 3, but led by as much as 26. The Warriors beat the Mavericks by eight in Game 3, but trailed by as much as 19 and went up by as much as 11.
And yet, despite a lack of competitive games, the NBA has seen its best TV ratings in years. ESPN reported that the first three games between the Heat and Celtics have been the most-watched Eastern Conference finals games since 2018. Game 3 averaged an 8.
9 rating in Miami, making it the most-watched Heat playoff game this year, and a 12. 1 rating in the Boston market. According to Sports Media Watch, the first three games between the Mavericks and Warriors has averaged 6.
9 million viewers, up 34% from last year’s Western Conference finals between the Clippers and the Suns. Game 3 averaged a 4. 0 rating, the biggest Western Conference finals rating since the Warriors were last in it in 2019.
The lopsided games have persisted through most of the playoffs. According to The Ringer’s Zach Kram, 18% of games this postseason have been decided by 25-plus points. —Zach Kram (@zachkram) May 24, 2022Dating back to the second round, the margins of victory have been unusually large.
In the Western Conference, the Mavericks knocked off the Phoenix Suns by a combined 60 points in the final two games — after losing Game 5 by 30 points. The Grizzlies beat the Warriors by 39 points in Game 5, then lost the decisive Game 6 by 14. The Celtics and Bucks played arguably the most exciting series of the playoffs so far, but Boston eliminated Milwaukee in Game 7 with 109-81 win.
Still, that 28-point blowout averaged 7. 48 million viewers and peaked at 9,559,000 viewers, making it the most-watched second-round game in 10 years, according to ESPN. ESPN said that viewership was up 25% on 2021 across ESPN and ABC during the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty ImagesThe strong viewership may be a testament to two factors: sports returning to a sense of normal after the pandemic and familiar names and teams. The Warriors have regularly played in the most-watched NBA games since winning their first championship in 2015.
They’ve played in five of the last seven Finals and are led by the same starry trio in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. The Celtics are historically one of the most successful franchises in the NBA, and they’ve played in four of the past six Eastern Conference Finals. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart may not have the same level of fame as Golden State’s trio, but they have been together since 2016.
According to Forbes, 16 of the top 20 NBA playoff broadcasts this spring have involved the Celtics or Warriors. In a league that has embraced player movement and the fan interest drummed up by free agency, it’s perhaps a testament to franchise stability that viewers have flocked to the two teams with longstanding cores. It’s nonetheless a positive sign for the NBA, which has faced great public debate about declining TV ratings the last three years.
And surely, one of these conference finals games will feature a close contest. Read the original article on Insider.