TV Ratings: NBA Finals Open With 10-Year Low

Warriors Raptors NBA Finals Game One - H Getty 2019
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday scored the lowest ratings for a series opener in a decade.

The Toronto Raptors' 118-109 over the Golden State Warriors drew a 10.1 household rating in overnight metered markets on ABC, down 18 percent from the opening game a year ago. It's the lowest preliminary rating for Game 1 since an 8.9 in 2009 and the lowest for any NBA Finals game since 2013 (10.0 for the third game of that series).

The 2019 Finals are the first since 2011 not to feature LeBron James, the best-known basketball player on the planet. They're also the first involving a team outside the United States, and therefore a home market not measured by Nielsen.

The 2018 series opener ended up with 17.35 million viewers. The finals for Thursday put the game at 13.31 million viewers — down 23 percent year to year — along with a 4.8 rating among adults 18-49.

Despite the decline, ABC still dominated the night, leading in viewers by several million people, topping the combined totals of the other four networks among adults 18-49. 

On the other networks, CBS' Life in Pieces was the top original show with a 0.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 4.78 million viewers. Elementary followed with a 0.5 in the 18-49 demo and 3.87 million viewers, on par with last week's premiere. 

Fox got a 0.4 in adults 18-49 from two hours of Paradise Hotel, even with last week's outing. A pair of AP Bio episodes averaged 0.4 for NBC, and Abby's drew 0.4 and 0.3 for its two episodes. The CW's iZombie and In the Dark both came in at 0.2.

ABC scored a 3.6 rating among adults 18-49. CBS was the best of the rest at 0.7. Fox and NBC tied at 0.4. The CW drew a 0.2.

Bookmark for more ratings news and numbers.

June 3, 8:35 a.m. Updated with final NBA ratings.