Ratings for Game 1 of Finals Worst Since Cavs-Spurs in 2007

Game 1 of the Finals between the Celtics and Warriors on ABC averaged just a 6.4 television rating and 11.9 million viewers, as relayed by Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch.Jayson Tatum

That is the lowest mark for a Finals Game 1 in June since the Spurs-Cavs Finals series in 2007, which drew a 6.3 average. Nether of the previous two Finals series were held in June, as the league’s calendar was altered because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes as a bit of a surprise, given that the NBA playoffs and regular season saw a fairly significant ratings increase across the board. Also, the Warriors and Celtics play in two of the league’s largest markets with two of its largest fan bases.

This also marks the least-watched Finals game that involved Warriors star Steph Curry, Lewis noted.

“Pending any potential out-of-home lift, the Celtics’ comeback win declined 19% in ratings and 11% in viewership from Warriors-Raptors Game 1 in 2019, the previous Finals to take place in June (7.9, 13.38M),” Lewis wrote. “It currently ranks as the lowest rated and least-watched Finals game involving Curry (29 telecasts), falling below Game 4 of the 2019 series (7.6, 12.79M).”

The Celtics rallied for a 120-108 victory in a fairly exciting matchup of two of the NBA’s original franchises. But that apparently did little to enhance people to tune in to Game 1.

“If a marked improvement over the past two years, Thursday’s Game 1 ratings would have to be considered a disappointment,” Lewis wrote. “Prior to 2019, 29-straight Finals games averaged at least a 9.0 rating and 56-straight averaged at least 14 million viewers.

“A Finals rating in the 6.0 range was the domain of the mid-2000s Spurs, whose annual defensive slogs plumbed the ratings depths. Far better numbers could have been expected for a series pitting the league’s biggest draw against its most storied franchise, both hailing from top-ten media markets.”

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