Rested and ready, the Golden State Warriors pummeled the Cleveland Cavaliers last night to a blowout 113-91 win in Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals and near record ratings for ABC.
Playing at home in Oakland’s Oracle Arena, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the rest of the Bay Area team made it very clear after a slow burn start that they were putting LeBron James and current champs the Cavs on notice. With the 2015 champs matching a postseason record for consecutive victories, the 2016 champs had to watch as Durant in his Warriors NBA Finals debut led the night with 38 points and Curry scored 28 points.
All of which added up to a 12.4 metered market result for the primetime game.
Now in their unparalleled third NBA Finals match-up in a row with the Warriors coming out on top of the Cavs in Game 1 for the third time, Thursday’s early ratings dipped a mere 5% from the record breaking Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals. For a bit more math, Thursday’s Game 1 dipped 4% from the metered market numbers of the first time the Warriors and the Cavs met up for the championship in 2015 on June 4 that year.
To put a bit more historical context on what is now unarguably a legendary repeating engagement between the two dynasties, that June 2, 2016 clash between the two teams was the best MM Game 1 result ABC and the NBA have ever had. The 9 – 11:40 PM ET Oakland-set game went on to snare a 7.3 rating among adults 18-49 and 19.2 million viewers, making it the most watched NBA Finals opener ever on the Disney-owned network.
And for even more ratings math, last night’s Game 1 peaked between 10:15 – 10:30 PM ET with a 13.9 MM rating. On the digital court, ESPN says that it hit a record 1.5 uniques and 500,000 average minute viewers.
Even with just the early numbers in, the night clearly belonged to ABC as the game belonged to the Warriors. NBC and the CW decided to go for all encores last night while CBS’ single original of the night was 10 PM’s The Amazing Race. Like they have in past years, FOX ventured out with a full slate on Thursday with Week 2 of Beat Shazam and Love Connection.
We’ll update later with more NBA Finals ratings as we get them as well as the results for the other shows on last night. In the meantime, the 90th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee on ESPN snared a 0.5 in MM results. Won by California’s own Ananya Vinay, that’s down a tenth from last year.
As for more NBA, Game 2 finds the Warriors still at home as they take on the Cavs on June 4, still on ABC – though no word if Rihanna will be court side again for another stare down match with Durant. While we wait for the rest of the ratings and then that game at 8 PM ET on Sunday , here’s Curry on last night’ win and what’s needed to take it all the way this year:
— NBA (@NBA) June 2, 2017
UPDATE, 9:13 AM: Fast affiliates are always an unclear barometer for live sports events like last night’s Warriors winning Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals but I doubt ABC will be sweating too much from what the numbers on the board are showing so far.
In the 9 – 11 PM time period, the b-ball blowout battle between the 2015 champs and the 2016 champs of the Cleveland Cavaliers scored a 5.9/23 rating among adults 18-49. That’s down just a tenth from the fast affiliates for last year’s Game 1, which went up to a 7.3 in the final numbers. Viewershipwise, last night’s third consecutive match-up between the Bay Area team and the Cavs pulled in 15.73 million. Compared to last year’s early numbers, that’s a small rise of 1% in sets of eyeballs. The final audience tally for last year’s Game 1 ended up at 19.2 million, making it the most watched NBA Finals Game 1 ever on ABC.
As it is right now, when you add in the 2.5/12 rating of the 8 PM Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night and the 2.7/12 of the 8:30 PM NBA Countdown, ABC has unsurprisingly easily won Thursday with a 4.8/19 rating and 13.34 million viewers.
The only other net to put up a full team last night, FOX was in a far second place in the key demo with a 1.0/4 rating. Still, the second week of Beat Shazam (1.1/2) and Love Connection (0.8/3) saw at least one of the newbies hold up pretty well against the stiff competition. The Jamie Foxx hosted music themed Shazam dipped just a tenth from it s premiere. The same relative success cannot be said of Andy Cohen’s Love Connection, which took a 27% fall among the 18-49s from its May 25 debut.
The only other original of the night was the season finale of CBS’ The Amazing Race (0.7/3). Up a tenth from last week, the end of Season 29 of the duo competition vet was down 36% from the Season 28 finale of May 13 last year.