NBA Playoffs Break Big For ESPN

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NBA playoffs ratings have gotten off to a fast break for ESPN and ABC.

The Walt Disney Co.-owned services, which enjoyed significant growth during the regular-season with their pro hoops telecasts, netted major double-digit gains in four out of five games over the opening post-season weekend.

ESPN notched a 2.1 household average for the first game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards Saturday April 19 at 12:30 p.m. (ET), which marked a 50% improvement from the 1.4 cable rating the New Jersey Nets-Toronto Raptors game produced in that window last year.

Later that night, ESPN scored a 2.4 ratings average with the Dallas Mavericks-New Orleans Hornets contest that tipped at 7 p.m., up 60% from Orlando Magic-Detroit Pistons the prior year. Meanwhile, the nightcap rematch of the opening round series between the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets dunked a 38.9% increase this go-round to a 2.5, from a 1.8.

On broadcast brethren ABC, Saturday afternoon’s double overtime classic in which the San Antonio Spurs edged the Phoenix Suns 117-115 yielded a 3.7 national average in the 3 p.m. window, a 32.1% gain over the first game of the Chicago Bulls-Miami Heat series in 2007.

ABC’s Sunday afternoon game featuring the Los Angeles Lakers’ contest against the Denver Nuggets matched the Lakers-Suns first game a year ago with a 3.9 mark.

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