Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors delivered the lowest ratings for a finals opener in 10 years.
The game, which yielded a shock victory for Toronto over the defending champions, scored a 10.1 rating in metered market households. That’s down 18% on last year’s 12.3 figure and represents the lowest score for any NBA finals game since 2013. The low figure is perhaps not surprising, given that these are the first finals for eight years not to feature LeBron James, and the fifth in a row to feature the dominant Golden State Warriors.
In the overnight ratings, Game 1 drew a 3.9 rating in key 18-49 demographic and 10.77 million total viewers, though due to the nature of live sports those numbers will be subject to adjustment. That rating is a significant dip in comparison to last year’s Game 1, which drew a 5.1 and 13.6 million viewers. The first game of the 2017 finals drew a 5.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 15.7 million viewers, while 2016’s Game 1 drew a 7.3 rating and 19.2 million viewers.
However, despite the low figures, the Warriors-Raptors game did hand ABC a substantial victory on Thursday night. The network averaged a 3.3 rating across the night, far ahead of CBS in second with a 0.7 and NBC and Fox which tied with a 0.4.
Earlier on ABC, the special “Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night” drew a 2.1 and 7.5 million viewers. “NBA Countdown” drew a 2.2 and 6.8 million viewers.