NBA Playoffs: ESPN Posts Up Highest-Rated, Most-Viewed Opening Round


ESPN put its highest-rated and most-viewed opening round of the NBA playoffs in the books.
Over eight telecasts, the worldwide leader scored a 20% gain to nearly 3.67 million viewers from 3.05 million and a 17% increase in ratings to a 2.7 rating from a 2.3 in the opening round of the 2010 postseason, which spanned nine games for the network, according to Nielsen
Broadcast brethren ABC's four first-round broadcasts were up 31% to 5.64 million viewers from 4.08 million, with ratings ahead 25% to a 3.5 from a 2.8 last season, when the Alphabet televised five opening-round matchups.
ESPN and ABC also delivered double-digit growth across all key demos: ESPN was up 21% among guys 18 to 34 (2.9 vs. 2.4); 23% with males 18 to 49 (2.7 vs. 2.2); and 24% against men 25 to 54 (2.6 vs. 2.1). For its part, ABC grew 20% with guys 18 to 34 (3.0 vs. 2.5); 29% in males 18 to 49 (3.1 vs. 2.4); and 24% among men 25 to 54 (3.1 vs. 2.5).
ABC tipped off its second-round coverage in fine Nielsen fashion as the first Eastern Conference semifinal game between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics knocked down a 5.8 rating, 6.71 million household impressions and 9.22 million viewers to rank as the network's second-most-viewed non-Finals NBA playoff behind the 6.95 million households and 9.48 million watchers for the May 15, 2003 battle between the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs.
The May 1 broadcast outpaced last year's equivalent game between the Utah Jazz and Lakers - also a conference semifinals Game 1 - by 55% among viewers (vs. 5.96 million), and 53% in both rating (vs. 3.8) and household impressions (vs. 4,38 million).