ABC Reports Highest-Rated Game 1 of NBA Finals


MVP Stephen Curry
MVP Stephen Curry

Last night’s Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals delivered a 13.1 overnight rating, ABC’s highest-rated Game 1 ever according to Nielsen.

The telecast, which featured the Golden State Warriors defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-89, broke the previous record (12.9) achieved last year for the matchup between these same two teams. Additionally, the 13.1 is up 26 percent from Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals (10.4) between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.

It is expected that the NBA Finals will win the night across television for the 49th consecutive time.

The broadcast peaked with a 14.8 rating from 10:45 p.m.-11 p.m. ET.

Most-Watched NBA Game Ever on WatchESPN

Last night’s Game 1 was the most-watched NBA game ever on WatchESPN. It delivered an average minute audience of 347,000, more than double (up 111 percent) from last year’s Game 1. Additionally, WatchESPN had one million unique viewers (up 48 percent) and 55.9 million minutes streamed (up 92 percent). The previous record for most-watched NBA game was Game 6 of the 2015 NBA Finals.

Strong Local Market Numbers

Game 1 on ABC delivered a 32.8 rating in the San Francisco market, which is the best NBA Finals Game 1 rating ever on ABC in that market, while Cleveland posted a 36.0 rating, the second-highest Game 1 rating for that market. Top 10 local markets for Game 1 last night:

Market Rating
Cleveland 36.0
San Francisco 32.8
Sacramento 20.2
Columbus 18.9
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 18.8
San Antonio 18.7
Atlanta 16.9
Birmingham 14.5
West Palm Beach 14.4
Houston 14.1

Additionally, NBA Countdown – ABC’s NBA Finals pre-game show – generated a 4.7 overnight rating, up two percent from the corresponding show in 2015 (4.6 rating) and up 20 percent from 2014 (3.9).

The NBA Finals will continue with Game 2 on ABC this Sunday, June 5, at 8 p.m. ET. NBA Countdown will precede the broadcast at 7:30 p.m. The game is also available on ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio and via WatchESPN.

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