TV Ratings: NBA Finals Dominate With Overtime Opener

Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant and Cleveland Cavaliers - May 31, 2018 - Getty-H 2018
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Another wild NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers kicked off on Thursday night, and ABC is already reaping the ratings benefits.

Posting the network's best night since the 2018 Oscars, Game 1 dominated all recent television with its overtime coverage of the Warriors' win. Initial returns from Nielsen have the game off less than 1 percent from the opener in 2017, averaging a 12.3 overnight rating among households. The total audience will likely fall at more than 18 million viewers.

The 2017 Finals kicked off with a 12.4 overnight rating among households, one that ultimately translated to 18.7 million viewers and a 6.9 rating among adults 18-49 for the network. That, too, was off from the previous year — though the five-game series ultimately set 20-year highs for the league.

This marks the fourth time in four years that the Cavaliers and Warriors have faced off in the finals. Game 2 between the pair is set for Sunday.