Turns out that, despite how much people complained about how often LeBron James vs. the Warriors has happened, it’s still a huge draw. Despite Game 1 being on a Tuesday night at 10 p.m. Eastern, the game broke viewership records.
By drawing in over seven million viewers, it became the most watched Game 1 second round game ever.
WBD Sports delivered record-breaking viewership for @Lakers/@warriors Game 1 Conference Semifinal on TNT:— Warner Bros. Discovery Sports U.S. PR (@WBDSportsPR) May 3, 2023
7.4 million avg. viewers
Most watched Conference Semifinal Game 1 ever on cable
Release: https://t.co/3P0j8SM7OC pic.twitter.com/zTbOvJEFSW
Warner Brother Discovery provided some more details in their press release about the game and the viewership numbers.
The Lakers/Warriors telecast – the #1 program of the night across all of television (cable and broadcast) — is also the most-watched Conference Semifinal game on TNT in over a decade (Lakers/Thunder, Game 5, on May 21, 2012). The telecast peaked with an average of 8 million viewers from 11-11:15 p.m. ET.
For comparison's sake, the NBA Finals last season saw 11.5 million people tune in for its lowest-rated game and over 13 million for it’s largest. While Lakers-Warriors isn’t going to do those numbers over the course of the series, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if they reached those numbers for one of the games.
The deeper this series goes, the more fans are going to tune in. And with some of the games set for weekends, it could lead to huge numbers. Game 3 takes place on a Saturday while a potential Game 6 and Game 7 would be slated for Friday and Sunday, respectively.
No matter how much fans may complain, they’re also tuning in to watch these games. And it’s likely only going to continue to increase given how good and dramatic the first game was.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.