Tuesday October 3, 2023

NBA Finals Game 1 Averages 11.5 Million Viewers on ABC, ESPN2

  • Viewership for Game 1 of Nuggets-Heat was down slightly from last year’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
  • This year’s NBA Playoffs leading up to the Finals have been the most-watched edition in 11 years.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals averaged 11.5 million viewers.
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat averaged 11.5 million viewers on ABC and ESPN2, leaving it slightly behind last year’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Last year’s Game 1 of the Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors averaged 11.9 million viewers on ABC and ESPN2, a 37% jump over Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns. 

The Nuggets’ 104-93 Game 1 victory over the Heat last Thursday peaked at 12.7 million viewers, slightly down from last year’s Game 1 peak of 12.9 million. Denver had Nielsen’s highest local market viewership rating for Thursday’s Game 1, followed by Miami, West Palm Beach, Richmond-Petersburg, and San Antonio to round out the top five.

“Game 1 tripled its competition on TV for June 1, easily winning the night in viewership and in all key demos,” ESPN senior communications director Ben Cafardo said on Twitter. 

This year’s NBA Playoffs leading up to the Finals averaged 4.7 million viewers per game across ABC/ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV, making it the most-watched edition in 11 years. The Heat’s ECF Game 7 win over the Celtics averaged nearly 12 million viewers, making it TNT’s most-watched Eastern Conference Finals telecast ever.

Ratings for yesterday’s Heat win over the Nuggets to even the series at 1-1 have not yet been announced. Game 3 in Miami tips off Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN2.

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