Nets, Celtics first-round series sees record ratings for NBA Playoffs

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives past Brooklyn Nets forward Nic Claxton (33) in the first quarter at Barclays Center.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

NBA fans love drama and they tuned in for it in record numbers during the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round series against the Boston Celtics. 

Across the NBA’s three national broadcast partners, ABC, ESPN and TNT, the series averaged 4.8 million viewers during the four games. It made it the most-viewed first-round NBA playoff series since the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets played one another in 2016. The league also announced that it was the most viewed Eastern Conference first-round series since the New York Knicks and Miami Heat played in 2012.

It should come as no surprise that the series was as heavily watched as it was. The drama surrounding the Brooklyn organization has made it must-watch television and the rematch between the Nets and Celtics had been the most anticipated series of the opening round. 

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Game 3 of the series set a viewership milestone for ESPN drawing 4,624,000 viewers on Saturday night and making it the most-viewed NBA first-round game on the network in over a decade. 

It followed a trend that saw interest and viewership for the Nets continue to go up during the regular season. YES Network, the local broadcast home to the Brooklyn ballclub saw a 95% viewership increase this season from its telecasts during the 2018-19 season, which was the final year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.