No Lakers, no Nets, no Sixers, no Clippers and no Warriors ultimately meant no problems for the NBA now that the rating for Game 1 of the NBA Finals are out.
According to ESPN’s Shakeemah Simmons-Winter, viewership on ABC’s broadcast of the game was 13-percent higher than last year. The broadcast drew over 8.56 million viewers, with a peak of 10 million from 11:15 to 11:30 p.m. ET.
As a result, ABC dominated the ratings that night. They secured top viewership from all of the essential demographics including Adult and Male.
That’s a massive W for the NBA given that this year’s finals didn’t include the likes of LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard. The pundits who rip the NBA for low ratings every other day have been uncharacteristically silent after this report.
🆙Viewership for ABC's NBA Finals Game 1 was up double digits – 13% – vs last year (Nielsen)
🏀The Suns win over the Bucks drew 8,560,000 viewers, peaking w/ nearly 10 mil from 11:15-11:30 p.m.
📺ABC won the night across all of TV and in all key demoshttps://t.co/K2EX5paUp4
— Ben Cafardo (@Ben_ESPN) July 8, 2021
Chris Paul dazzled in his first-ever NBA Finals appearance, leading all players in scoring with 32 points while adding nine assists. Devin Booker struggled in the paint but was money from the line, going a perfect 10-for-10 on free throws to finish with 27 points. Center Deandre Ayton was dominant on defense, recording 22 points and a game-best 19 rebounds.
As for the Bucks, the big story was ultimately Giannis Antetokounmpo struggling from the free throw line. He went just 7-of-12 while finishing with 20 points and 17 rebounds.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals will be played at 9:00 p.m. EST and will air on ABC.