North American basketball’s NBA drew its largest audience in three years for the recently concluded regular season.

The league completed its first 82-game schedule since the 2018-19 campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic shortening the last two seasons.

As a result, the regular season averaged 1.6 million viewers across national networks ABC, ESPN, and TNT, up 19% from last year’s delayed and shortened season and up 3% from the 2019-20 campaign that was halted in mid-March and resumed in a bubble setting four months later.

ABC averaged 3.03 million for its 19-game package, up 12% from last season, while ESPN and TNT both averaged 1.4 million, up 16% and 13% respectively.

Averages for the league’s in-house NBA TV channel were not revealed, but the network is said to have had its most-watched season since 2017-18.

The Golden State Warriors were the biggest draw of the regular season, playing in 10 of the 20 most-watched games.

The Los Angeles Lakers – which missed the playoffs this season – played in six of the 15 most-watched games, second only to the Warriors (three of those six games were against the Warriors).

The most-watched game of the season was the Brooklyn Nets’ Christmas Day encounter against the Lakers on ABC which drew 5.75 million.

The NBA is now in the midst of its play-in tournament to determine the final playoff positions.

Last night (April 12), the Nets beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 115-108 and the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame the Los Angeles Clippers 109-104 to clinch playoff berths.

In tonight’s (April 13) matchups, the Atlanta Hawks face the Charlotte Hornets and the New Orleans Pelicans take on the San Antonio Spurs.

The Cavaliers and Clippers will face the losers in a battle for the final eighth seed in the respective Eastern and Western Conferences.