Warriors’ playoff run provides ratings bonanza, Chase Center spotlight

All eyes are on the Chase Center, regardless of what Charles Barkley says.

Despite Barkley’s public desire to be anywhere but San Francisco during the postseason, NBA fans can’t get enough of the team that calls the city home.

According to Sports Media Watch, the first three games of the Western Conference finals between the Warriors and Mavericks averaged 6.9 million viewers on TNT, a 34% increase over last year’s matchup between the Clippers and Suns.

Sports Media Watch reported Sunday’s Game 3 audience was the largest for any conference finals game since the Warriors met the Blazers in the conference finals in 2019. The same report said Game 3, a 109-100 win for the Warriors, was the highest-rated playoff game shown on cable this year.

The postseason ratings bump the Warriors have provided is in line with regular season trends as Sports Business Journal reported Golden State appeared in six of the eight-highest rated regular season games this year.

It should come as little surprise that a Warriors franchise that provided networks with a ratings bonanza from 2015-2019 is once again the NBA’s main draw, as the core players of the team’s dynasty era remain the centerpieces of the 2021-2022 roster.

Steph Curry, one of the most marketable athletes regardless of sport, transformed a once-moribund team into a must-watch product, and even at 34 years old, Curry is still playing at an elite level. According to Sports Watch Media, the Bay Area audience for Game 3 was massive as TNT drew a 19.4 local rating compared to a 9.8 rating in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

Sports Media Watch data shows ratings were down for the 2020 and 2021 NBA Finals as the Warriors missed the playoffs in each season. After Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals between Golden State and Toronto produced a 10.7 rating and an average of more than 18.7 million viewers, the highest-rated NBA Finals game of the last two years was Game 6 of the 2021 Finals, when the Bucks clinched a title over the Suns with a 6.6 rating and 12.5 million viewers.

TNT, which is broadcasting the Western Conference finals, is hardly alone in enjoying Golden State’s run.

A Warriors ownership group led by Joe Lacob couldn’t have all that disappointed in the team’s Game 4 loss to the Mavericks on Tuesday that forced a Game 5 on Thursday night. The additional game brings an additional gate, even if ticket prices are apparently falling.

According to TickPick, the cheapest “get-in” price for a ticket to Game 5 at the Chase Center was $244 on Thursday morning. Two and a half hour prior to tip-off, the price of the cheapest ticket listed on TickPick’s website was $267.

The Warriors enter Thursday’s Game 5 a perfect 8-0 at the Chase Center during the 2022 playoffs and would have homecourt advantage at the start of the NBA Finals, regardless of whether the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics advance.

If the Warriors defeat the Mavericks, Golden State is set to open the NBA Finals at home on Thursday, June 2.

Every NBA Finals game will be broadcast on ABC.

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