Warriors-Kings Game 4 Put Up Crazy Ratings

Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors - Game Four
Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors - Game Four / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors-Sacramento Kings series helped lead the charge in what has been a hot start for the NBA in terms of playoff viewership and Game 4 between the two teams took the numbers to even greater heights. ESPN announced on Tuesday that ABC's broadcast of Saturday's Warriors-Kings game drew in more viewers than any first-round game since Kobe and Shaq took on the Trail Blazers in 2002.


ABC’s broadcast of the Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors Game 4 delivered the largest NBA Playoffs first round audience across any network in 21 years, according to Nielsen. The broadcast averaged 7,523,000 viewers, peaking with 10,406,000 viewers during the 6 p.m. ET quarter hour.

The ABC game was the most-watched program across all of television on Sunday, including in all key demographics. It was the most-watched first round NBA Playoffs game since April 28, 2002, when the Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal-led Los Angeles Lakers squared off with the Portland Trail Blazers (8,555,000 viewers).

Even with all the factors working into this game's favor (Draymond Green drama, David vs. Goliath backdrop, the Warriors as a massive ratings draw, broadcast television, Saturday afternoon timeslot) it is still a supremely high number. Setting a two-decade record ain't too shabby. And the game certainly delivered as a competitive matchup wire-to-wire that featured a double-digit comeback by the Kings and ended on a missed go-ahead shot at the buzzer. Pretty much everything basketball fans were hoping for and the viewership is reflective of that.

Unfortunately some of the drama could be taken out of the series with the news that De'Aaron Fox fractured the tip of a finger on his shooting hand. If that affects him enough people won't tune in to watch the Warriors steamroll another unlucky opponent. But the Game 5 ratings, at least, should be tremendous with the series tied and back in Sacramento.

As everyone expected, the Kings are the ratings tide that raises all boats in the first round of the playoffs. All hail the beam!