The Golden State Warriors – Cleveland Cavaliers rematch in the NBA Finals is paying ratings dividends for ABC so far. The Warriors’ 104-89 win over the Cavs in Game 1 in Oakland Thursday night pulled in a 13.1 overnight rating, ABC’s highest-rated Game 1 ever. Interestingly enough, the previous record was set last year between these teams with a 12.9; the difference is really illustrated when you go back to 2014 (Miami Heat – San Antonio Spurs) and the 10.4 its Game 1 drew, 26 per cent lower. ABC/ESPN found huge success on the streaming side, too, shattering WatchESPN records:
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.
The local ratings were impressive as well, with Cleveland leading the way with a 36.0 (the second-highest Game 1 rating in that market) and San Francisco delivering a 32.8 (the best Game 1 rating in that market). Other strong areas were inside the teams’ states, with Sacramento (20.2) and Columbus (18.9) the third- and fourth-best, but other NBA markets like Miami – Fort Lauderdale (18.8), San Antonio (18.7) and Atlanta (16.9) tuned in too, as did Birmingham (14.5). The game peaked with a 14.8 rating between 10:45 p.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern. Game 2 is in Oakland Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern.