Fans all over the world have been treated to many exciting first-round matchups in the 2023 NBA playoffs. But there hasn’t been a series that has captured the imagination of fans to this degree in quite a while as the battle between two Northern California teams in Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings — and the numbers definitely show it.
According to Nielsen, the Game 4 tilt between the Warriors and Kings averaged 7.5 million viewers with a 10.4 million viewership peak — the most viewed first-round matchup in over 20 years. Not a single game since the Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers took on the Portland Trail Blazers in 2002 drew this many viewers. Given the star power involved, it’s no surprise that that Lakers game drew 8.5 million viewers.
Of course, it shouldn’t come as a surprise as well that the Warriors and Kings have drawn this much interest in their first-round matchup. The Warriors remain one of the most famous teams all over the globe given their accomplishments over the past eight years, and Stephen Curry remains one of the most marketable guys in the entire NBA.
Meanwhile, the Kings have not made the playoffs since 2006, and as a result, many neutral fans are now wishing the utmost success for the vaunted Beam Team.
As if the narratives aren’t enough to make this first-round series between the Warriors and Kings feel especially important, their styles of play (frenetic pace, incredible shot-making) are also very appealing even to the most casual fan.
The viewership for this matchup could very well rise, especially as the stakes of the series continue to grow.
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