Phoenix Suns vs. Dallas Mavericks was ESPN’s most-watched late opener in 5 years

Oct 21, 2022, 10:48 AM | Updated: 10:51 am

The Phoenix Suns opened their season with a massive comeback win at home over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

The game was the most-watched ESPN late night opener in five years, according to Nielsen. The average viewership of 1.634 million was an 18% improvement from last season’s matchup between the Suns and Denver Nuggets.

Star talent attracts eyes, and the two teams aren’t devoid of that. Suns guard Devin Booker (No. 10) and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (No. 3) both ranked in the top 10 in ESPN’s top 100 players entering 2022-23.

With two top-tier players, combined with the result of last season’s Western Conference Semifinals clincher, and the game will attract viewership.

Though it was a far cry from the 6.29 million of their Game 7 matchup a season ago, maintaining north of 1.5 million on average in a game that started at 10 p.m. on the east coast is nothing to scoff at.

By comparison, Game 7 of last year’s series between these two started at 8 p.m. EST.

However, this matchup maintained that viewership despite the largest lead peaking at 22 in favor of Dallas with 10:09 remaining in the third quarter.

While the Suns came roaring back with a 62-38 run to win the game on a last-second shot from guard Damion Lee, there was a large stretch of play where Dallas completely controlled things. After a defensive rebound by Dorian Finney-Smith with 9:55 left in the third, the Mavericks held a 98% win probability, according to ESPN Analytics.

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