TV Ratings: NBA Finals Start Strong, Edging Past 2015 Record

The Cavaliers-Warriors match-up is just a shade ahead of last year's Game 1 in overnight ratings.
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With Fast Affiliate numbers delayed, Nielsen's Metered Market ratings still paint a very strong showing for the first game of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.

Setting a record (if just barely) for ABC, Game 1 was up almost 2 percent from the 2015 high with a 13.1 overnight rating. Last year's comparable overnight ultimately translated to 17.8 million viewers for the broadcast network, a vast improvement from 2014 and a welcome lift for the network that sees so little sports. It's an especially strong showing considering the margin of victory for the Warriors, who bested the Cavaliers 104-89.

The game naturally performed best in the northern Ohio and northern California markets, with Cleveland leading (36.0 household rating) San Francisco (32.8 household rating) in the top two slots.

Sister network ESPN streamed the game on its Watch ESPN app, setting a NBA best with average minute audience of 347,000. That's more than double the number last year's first game brought.

Fast National ratings later on Friday will give a full picture of how the game performed, including total viewership and its score among adults 18-49.