First round of NBA Playoffs was most-watched on ESPN since 2014

The first-round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs was the most-watched on ESPN since 2014, according to Nielsen. The eight games on ESPN averaged 3,346,000 viewers, and were up 28 percent from 2021 and up 69 percent from 2020. It now ranks as the third-most watched first-round of the NBA Playoffs on ESPN ever, dating back to 2003. 

The Golden State Warriors victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals on ABC averaged 7,714,000 viewers and peaked with 10,195,000 viewers at 6:15 p.m. ET. It was ABC’s most-watched Conference Semifinals game in 11 years, dating back to 2011 (Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks). Viewership for Game 1 was up 97 percent from last year’s ABC Conference Semifinals average. 

Additionally, the Milwaukee Bucks win over the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series averaged 5,370,000 viewers on Sunday, peaking with 7,148,000 viewers at 3:30 p.m. This was up 37 percent from last year’s second-round average. The doubleheader combined for an average of 6,580,000 viewers, up 68 percent from last year’s second-round.

J.B. Bickerstaff to provide postseason analysis

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has joined ESPN as a studio analyst for the remainder of the 2022 postseason. Bickerstaff will regularly provide insights and analysis on ESPN daytime studio shows, including NBA TodayGet Up and SportsCenter. Bickerstaff makes his debut today, Tuesday, May 3. 

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