Even though the NBA is at its peak in player athleticism, viewership has been highly variable over the years. The NBA often gets overshadowed by the multitude of options available on television. 

However, in 2022 the NBA had the most viewed regular season since 2018-2019.  Games across ABC, ESPN, and TNT averaged 1.6 million viewers, representing 19% more than the 2020-21 season. 

In addition, the NBA league pass global subscribers increased by 30% from the 2020-21 period. Meanwhile, in 2022, social media platforms generated an impressive 13 billion video views - a 7% jump from the previous year's figures. 

The NBA is resonating with people again in a big way. As a result, betting on NBA matches and teams has also increased, with online sportsbooks reaching over $10 billion in revenue in 2021. 

Many analysts believe that this recent increase in popularity is a direct result of the new generation of NBA stars, including LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Kyrie Irving. 

If you are interested in sports betting, you can find the best NBA betting sites listed on betting.us to support your favorite team.

Broad Exposure

Unsurprisingly, the league experienced a staggering 30% increase in global viewers since some of its most incredible talents come from abroad. This statistic is particularly noteworthy and serves as a testament to the international appeal of this beloved sport.

This season's most promising MVP hopefuls: Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, all have international backgrounds. And plenty of other big names within the association come from overseas.

The NBA is becoming increasingly inclusive and inviting for people worldwide, allowing them to join in and participate.

The league is also flourishing from the abundance of captivating storylines. The NBA has become a spectacle of must-watch television. 

Whether it be the Bulls' return to glory, the Suns' dominance, or New York and Los Angeles slipping away in defeat—something exciting is unfolding right before our eyes! 

It's truly remarkable what is happening throughout all corners of the league. As a result, this is drawing people in.

The Most Watched Games

Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics

ESPN has shared that the initial three games between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics have been seen by more people than any other Eastern Conference finals matches since 2018. 

In the Miami area, Game 3 easily set records for being the most-viewed Heat playoff game this year with an average 8.9 rating; in Boston, it skyrocketed to 12.1.

Dallas Mavericks vs Golden State Warriors

With an average of 6.9 million viewers for their first three games, the Mavericks and Warriors have gathered 34% more spectators than last year's Western Conference finals between the Clippers and Suns. 

As reported by Sports Media Watch, this impressive spike has been fueled mainly by die-hard NBA fans eager to witness history being made during this incredible series. 

Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals was an immense success, garnering a rating of 4.0 - the biggest since 2019 when the Warriors last played.

Throughout the playoffs, there has been a consistent pattern of one-sided games.

Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks

Zach Kram of The Ringer revealed that 25-plus points had resolved a staggering 18% of postseason matchups. Ever since the second round, an impressive gap has been seen in the margins of victory. 

The Dallas Mavericks completely dominated the Phoenix Suns in their two last games of the Western Conference, defeating them by a staggering 60 points - even after suffering an immense 30-point loss in Game 5.

The Grizzlies were unstoppable in Game 5, crushing the Warriors by a whopping 39 points. Unfortunately, their joy was short-lived as they suffered a 14-point loss during the series' final game.

The Celtics and Bucks' series electrified sports fans worldwide, but ultimately Boston overpowered Milwaukee in a decisive Game 7 by scoring 109-81.

Despite the 28-point blowout, an average viewership of 7.48 million and a peak audience count of 9,559,000 made it the highest-viewed second-round game in 10 years, as reported by ESPN.

ESPN has reported that viewership for the first two rounds of the 2021 playoffs increased a remarkable 25% on both ESPN and ABC.

Sports After the Pandemic

This high viewership could be due to the return of sports in a post-pandemic world and viewers feeling comfortable with familiar franchises and players.

Since claiming their initial title in 2015, the Warriors have been featured in some of the most-viewed NBA games each season. 

For the past seven years, this star-studded team comprised of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have been ruling the court with their impressive five NBA Finals appearances.

The Celtics have been one of the most productive franchises in NBA history, making it to four of the last six Eastern Conference Finals. Unsurprisingly, they continue to make a mark on basketball fans everywhere. 

Although they may not possess the same degree of acclaim as Golden State's triumvirate, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart have been united since 2016. 

This past spring season, Forbes reported that the Celtics and Warriors dominated the NBA playoffs with 16 of the top 20 live broadcasts.

Today, fans love player movement and free agency in the league. But it's a testament to the consistency that viewers still flock toward teams with deep-rooted cores. 

This speaks volumes about how much stability matters when it comes to making an impact on loyal followers of any sport.

Despite this, these figures should encourage the NBA as it has been criticized for declining TV ratings over the last three years.


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