When the NBA first started the play-in tournament, some people weren’t sure how well it would go over with the very loyal but very opinionated fanbase.
NBA followers don’t always like change and the play-in games were definitely that.
Now a few years into the play-in era, it is clear that fans don’t just like the tournament, they love it.
Front Office Sports says that the play-in doubleheader on Wednesday night brought in 2.6 million viewers on ESPN, up 19% from last year.
And the audience for Tuesday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves was the second-largest in play-in history.
The NBA's Play-In doubleheader drew 2.6 million viewers across ESPN on Wednesday — up 19% from last season.
On Tuesday, Lakers-Timberwolves drew 3.47 million — the second-largest audience in the tournament’s three-year history.
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) April 14, 2023
There is something extremely exciting about the play-in format.
It is very competitive and it also provides a do-or-die mentality among players and fans.
The stakes are incredibly high for these games.
The teams are well aware of that: since the inception of the play-in games, squads participating have always played with serious determination and drive.
The tempo and the energy of these games are second-to-none.
Friday night will feature the last two play-in games of the season.
The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat will duke it out for the eighth and final position in the East while the Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves will fight hard for their spot in the West.
The NBA has said that the play-in is here to stay and it seems like fans are totally happy about that move.
This is one of the few league decisions that doesn’t have many detractors or critics.
The fanbase seems to unanimously love the play-in tournament.NEXT: Video Shows 2 Warriors Stars Preparing To Return