Ratings Roundup: 2023 NBA Playoffs Most-Watched on ESPN in 11 Years

Ratings Roundup is a rundown of recent rating news and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” finishes as #1 primetime show for the 12th year in a row; Lakers vs. Nuggets is most-watched NBA conference final Game 3 since 2011.

NBC’S “Sunday Night Football” Finishes TV Season as Primetime’s Number 1 Show for Record 12th Consecutive Year; Tops Charts in Every Major Demo

With the 2022-23 TV season wrapped up, NBC’s Sunday Night Football finishes as primetime’s #1 TV show in all key metrics for an unprecedented 12th consecutive year – adding to its record for the most consecutive years atop the charts (since 1950), based on official live plus same day data provided by Nielsen. Sunday Night Football also ranked as the No. 1 show in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic for the 13th consecutive TV season.

  • Most Consecutive Years, #1 Ranked Show in Primetime, Since 1950
  • 12 years in a row – Sunday Night Football (2011-12 through 2022-23)
  • 6 years in a row – American Idol (2005-06 through 2010-11)
  • 5 years in a row – The Cosby Show (1985-86 through 1989-90)…tied Cheers in ‘89-90
  • 5 years in a row – All in the Family (1971-72 through 1975-76)
  • 4 years in a row – Gunsmoke (1957-58 through 1960-61)

NBC Sunday Night Football posted a Total Audience Delivery average of 19.9 million viewers in 2022, according to official live plus same day data released by Nielsen, and digital data from Adobe Analytics.

“We are extremely proud of our unparalleled production, technical, and announce teams – who work to make every Sunday Night Football presentation better than the week before – as we extend our record to 12 consecutive seasons as primetime’s No. 1 show,” says Pete Bevacqua, Chairman, NBC Sports. “With a blockbuster 2023 SNF schedule, an exclusive Peacock regular season game in December, followed on Jan. 13 with the NFL’s first-ever exclusively streamed Playoff game on Peacock, we can’t wait to kick off this fall.”

SNF Leads Primetime in Every Major Metric and Demographic

In the 2022-23 TV Season, NBC’s Sunday Night Football was primetime’s #1 show in the following metrics:

  • Average (P2+) Viewership
  • Household Rating
  • Household Share
  • People 2-17
  • Adults 18-34
  • Adults 18-49
  • Adults 18-54
  • Adults 25-54
  • Men 18-34
  • Men 18-49
  • Men 18-54
  • Men 25-54
  • Women 18-49
  • Women 18-54
  • Women 25-54

Source: Nielsen, Live + Same Day, 9/6/22-5/24/23

Led By Peacock, Record-Setting SNF Streaming Topped 1 Million Average Minute Audience (AMA) for First Time

Led by Peacock, NBC Sports Digital hit another viewership milestone for Sunday Night Football in 2022, delivering a full-season Average Minute Audience above 1 million viewers (1.17 million) for the first time across Peacock, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, and NFL Digital properties – up 38% from the prior record (843,000) set last year.

Most-Watched NBA Playoffs on ESPN Platforms in 11 Years

The 2023 NBA Playoffs are the most-watched on ESPN platforms in 11 years, since 2012, according to Nielsen. Through 31 games, the NBA Playoffs on ESPN platforms have averaged 5,579,000 viewers, up nine percent from last year.

Last night’s series-clinching victory by the Denver Nuggets over the Los Angeles Lakers averaged 8,209,000 viewers, peaking with 11,482,000 viewers from 11-11:15 p.m. ET. It was the most-watched NBA Conference Finals Game 4 on ESPN platforms in eight years, since 2015.

The Western Conference Finals was up 44 percent from the last time ESPN had the event in 2021, and up 17 percent from last year’s Western Conference Finals.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Series Delivered Most-Watched NBA Conference Finals Game 3 on Any Network Since 2011

The Denver Nuggets victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, May 20, became the most-watched NBA Conference Finals Game 3 on any network since 2011. The ABC broadcast generated an average audience of 8,384,000 viewers, peaking with 10,788,000 viewers from 10:45 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, according to Nielsen.

Saturday’s game was up 55 percent vs. the last time ESPN televised Western Conference Finals Game 3 in 2021. It was also up 23 percent from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 broadcast on ABC and up 13 percent from last year’s Western Conference Finals Game 3. It was the most-watched broadcast of the day across all of television and in all key demographics.

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