NBA Playoffs: Nuggets/Lakers Game 7 Earns Second-Best First Round Audience Ever on Cable


A Game 7 involving the Lakers will liven up even the dreariest postseason.

Game 7 of the Nuggets/Lakers first round NBA playoff series drew 6.464 million viewers on TNT Saturday night. There was no comparable telecast window last year or in 2010.

The game ranks as the second-most viewed first round NBA playoff game ever on cable, trailing only Bulls/Celtics Game 7 in 2009 (6.987M).

For some perspective, the last time the Lakers played a Game 7 in the first round (a 2006 blowout against the Suns, also on a Saturday night) the game drew 4.74 million viewers.

Earlier Saturday night, Game 1 of the Sixers/Celtics second round playoff series drew 4.253 million viewers — down 26% from Celtics/Cavaliers Game 1 in 2010 (5.705M). There was no comparable telecast window last year.

Most-Viewed First Round NBA Playoff Games on Cable

# Date Away Home
Viewers (000)
1 Sat., 5/2/09 Bulls Celtics
Sat., 5/12/12 Nuggets Lakers
Sun., 4/24/11 Lakers Hornets
Sun., 4/17/11 Knicks Celtics
Tue., 4/26/11 Hornets Lakers

(Saturday’s numbers from TV By the Numbers)

  • JakeFrankie

    That dreariest postseason you speak about? Were we had 2 Game 7’s in the 1st round, Another 8th seed beating a 1st seed (5th time it’s happened and 2 year in a row), Champions get swept in the 1st round, Thrilling game 6’s in the Bulls-76ers and Hawks-Celtics series? I guess you and I are seeing this postseason in a very different way. Just because we didn’t have any series tie 2-2 doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a good postseason.

    So the Top 5 Most watched 1st round games have all happened in a 3 year span? I think the NBA’s popularity is at a all time high. 

  • Guest

    That rating is especially good when you consider the late time slot. If the game was at 9 or 9:30 ET, it may have topped 7 million.

  • Damon

    Ratings wise, it’s been a dreary postseason.

    Also, seeing Derrick Rose go out for the playoffs in Game 1 hurt things too and it seems as if this postseason will be dictated by who’s hurt and who’s not rather than who plays better.

  • Andrea Cavalli

    Like I said, TV ratings may have been down so far compared to last year’s record numbers and, at this point, I think it is a safe bet to say that we’ll enter the NBA Finals down compared to 2011. BUT, ratings have been generally up compared to 2010 and still are some of the highest in years. And the NBA playoffs made up 6 of the top 8 highest rated shows on cable last week.

    Let’s see, the so-called “red hot” NHL drew a 0.8 in the clinching game of the conference semis, in a game involving the #2 market Los Angeles by the way. Now, can we all agree that if the “not-so-hot” NBA pulled a 0.8 on broadcast TV for a playoffs game, even a game involving small markets or even a regular season game for that matter, there would be cries to ban the league from broadcast TV?   So, all in all, I think we can all agree things could be way worse. Considering what the numbers were in, say, 2007 or 2008, and considering we are just few months removed from an ugly lockout, things are going fairly well for a league that was supposed to be, according to know-nothing talking heads, dead and buried because of that ugly labor dispute.

  • Bessilver

    Not surprised by these #’s.  Nuggets made the series a compelling one after winning games 5, 6 (winning game 6 in a blow-out fashion).  Like ‘Guest’ stated, the #’s could have easily topped 7M if it were aired at 9:00 or 9:30 instead of 10:30 EST.  By the time this game ended, most of the country were either asleep or clubbing.  lol