OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night was the most watched and highest-rated opening game in ABC’s history, with 19.2 million viewers tuning in for an 11.1 household rating.
The Nielsen Company, which determines ratings, said ABC eclipsed the previous viewership high of 17,768,000 by 8 percent — that mark was set by the same two teams when they met for Game 1 of the 2015 Finals. The final figure for Thursday night’s game is the highest for a Game 1 on any television network since 1998. The peak viewership moment was from 10:45-11 p.m. ET with 22,610,000 viewers and a 12.9 rating.
For network giant ESPN, Game 1 was the most-watched NBA game ever for its WatchESPN app, with an average minute audience of 347,000.
In overnight ratings, the game drew a 36.0 rating from Cleveland and 32.8 in San Francisco.
In Game 1, Warriors reserve Shaun Livingston showcased the playoff performance of his life, posting a career-playoff high 20 points during a 80 percent shooting performance. Last year’s Finals MVP Andre Iguodala added another 12, and Leandro Barbosa shot a perfect 5 for 5, collecting 11 points of his own. All three players came off the bench.
Golden State won the game 104-89. The two teams will square off in Game 2 on Sunday evening.