‘We Don’t Need the NBA?’ Pro Hoops Playoffs Showed Warner Bros. Discovery Cable Its ‘Best Night Ever’ Last Sunday

NBA Playoffs
(Image credit: Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

About five months ago, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav loudly questioned his conglomerate’s intention to renew its $1.2 billion-a-year NBA national TV rights contract when expires at the end of the 2025 playoffs. 

“We don't need the NBA,” Zaslav said.

Well, someone should tell the WBD PR department, which proudly trumpeted a week ago Sunday’s (April 16) primetime ratings performance, driven by two first-round NBA playoff matchups, as the “best night ever” across WBD’s various cable channels. 

Bolstered by the Los Angeles Clippers' 115-110 game 1 defeat of the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets 109-80 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, WBD said it controlled 61% of viewership of adults 25-54 and 64% of viewing for adults 18-49 from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. 

The Clippers-Suns game averaged more than 5 million viewers. And two NBA primetime cablecasts just led prime time this past Sunday, too, albeit with slightly lower total audience performances. 

Based on Nielsen measurement of viewers 25-54 during that primetime window, WBD “owned all 10 of the top-performing shows for April 16:

  1. TNT – NBA Playoffs (Clippers vs. Suns)
  2. TNT – NBA Playoffs (Nuggets vs. Timberwolves)
  3. TLC – 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way
  4. Discovery – Naked and Afraid
  5. HGTV – Home Town Takeover
  6. HGTV – Home Town Takeover Sneak Preview
  7. TBS – The Big Bang Theory
  8. TBS – The Big Bang Theory
  9. Discovery – Naked and Afraid: Solo
  10. TLC - Seeking Brother Husband

“More than any other media company, we offer audiences everything they want to watch on any given night,” Jon Steinlauf, chief U.S. ad sales officer for Warner Bros. Discovery, said in a statement. “From the biggest live sports events to the most-watched lifestyle networks, and everything in-between, our programming features stories that connect and inspire audiences everywhere.”

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!