The Toronto Raptors clawed their way to a Game 1 win on Thursday night to tip off the NBA Finals, which handed ABC a very easy victory.
Unfortunately, as anticipated, 2019’s first game of the championship series was down quite a bit from last year’s comparable contest, as were ABC’s primetime averages (-23%). Adding a Canadian team and subtracting LeBron James was not expected to work out for the league or its broadcast partner.
Last year’s Game 1 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors scored a 5.1 rating in the all-important adults 18-49 demographic and 13.6 million total viewers in overnight Nielsen numbers.
Thursday’s tipoff between the Warriors and the Raptors put up a 3.9 rating (down 24%) and 10.8 total million viewers (down 21%), according to preliminary data.
Due to the nature of live sports, the below fast national numbers for ABC should be considered subject to significant adjustment. For instance, last year’s Game 1 rose to 6.3 rating and 17.4 million total viewers when the finalized data came in.
ABC was first in ratings with a 3.3 rating/16 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and in total viewers with an average of 9.6 million, according to preliminary numbers. At 8 p.m., the “Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night” special earned a 2.1/11 and 7.1 million viewers. At 8:30, the Game 1 countdown show put up a 2.2/11 and 6.8 million viewers. The game itself started at 9 and filled the rest of primetime, bringing in the above-mentioned numbers.
CBS was second in ratings with a 0.7/3 and in viewers with 4.9 million. Following three sitcom repeats, “Life in Pieces” at 9:30 received a 0.7/3 and 4.8 million viewers. At 10, “Elementary” managed a 0.5/2 and 3.9 million viewers.
Telemundo was third in ratings with a 0.5/2 and fifth in viewers with 1.3 million.
NBC, Fox and Univision tied for fourth in ratings, each with a 0.4/2. NBC was third in total viewers with 2 million, Fox was fourth with 1.5 million and Univision was sixth with 1.2 million.
For NBC, “A.P. Bio” at 8 settled for a 0.4/2 and 2.4 million viewers. A second episode at 8:30 got another 0.4/2 and 1.7 million viewers. At 9, “Abby’s” had a 0.4/2 and 1.6 million viewers. Another episode of the sitcom at 9:30 managed a 0.3/1 and 1.4 million viewers. A repeat of “SVU” aired at 10.
For Fox, “Paradise Hotel” at 8 got a 0.4/2 and 1.5 million viewers, filling the network’s entire primetime block.
The CW was seventh in ratings with a 0.2/1 and in total viewers with 880,000. At 8, “iZombie” had a 0.2/1 and 912,000 viewers. At 9, “In the Dark” received a 0.2/1 and 849,000 viewers.