NBA Finals Was Most-Watched & Highest-Rated Game 1 Ever on ABC


NBA Finals Was Most-Watched & Highest-Rated Game 1 Ever on ABC

  • 19.2 Million Viewers Tuned in on ABC; 11.1 U.S. Household Rating
  • NBA Finals Wins the Night for 49th Consecutive Time
  • Game 1 Viewership Records for WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes

A record 19,197,000 viewers watched the Golden State Warriors’ victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the largest Game 1 audience ever on ABC for the NBA Finals, according to Nielsen. The ABC viewership eclipsed the previous high of 17,768,000 by eight percent, a mark set last year between these same two teams. Additionally, the viewership number was the biggest audience for a Game 1 on any network since 1998. The game peaked from 10:45-11 p.m. ET with 22,610,000 viewers and a 12.9 rating.

The corresponding 11.1 U.S. household rating also set an ABC Game 1 record, surpassing last year’s previous high of 10.6. Furthermore, the 19,197,000 viewers and 11.1 rating marked a 31 and 25 percent increase, respectively compared to the 2014 Game 1 numbers of 14,697,000 and 8.9 (Miami-San Antonio).

For the 49th consecutive time, the NBA Finals propelled ABC to win the night across all of television (broadcast and cable) and across all key demos.

Most-Watched NBA Game Ever on WatchESPN
In addition to the television audience on ABC, 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.

NBA Finals Game 1 Record on ESPN Deportes
Game 1 of the NBA Finals on ESPN Deportes averaged a 0.6 Hispanic Household Rating with 124,000 total Hispanic viewers, making it the most-watched and highest-rated Game 1 ever on the network.

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


Media Contact:  Ben Cafardo at 860-766-3496 or [email protected] (@Ben_ESPN)



Teri Couch

I oversee our company archives and manage our media website (ESPN Press Room). I also help out with PR efforts around our partnership with Special Olympics.
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