NBA Finals Game 1 Viewership Drops to Three-Year Low

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2024 NBA Finals Game 1 Viewership Drops to Three-Year Low Celtics Mavericks

Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics was anything but exciting for fans, as viewership dropped to a three-year low. The Celtics pounded Dallas 107-89 at TD Garden, and viewers did not stick around for the second half in the hope of a Mavs comeback.

2024 NBA Finals’ Game 1 averaged a 5.7 rating and 10.99 million viewers on ABC

According to Sports Media Watch, Thursday night’s Game 1 matchup averaged a 5.7 rating and 10.99 million viewers on ABC (11.04 million including 43,000 on ESPN Deportes).

It topped only the two COVID-era series of 2020 (Heat-Lakers: 4.1, 7.69M) and 2021 (Bucks-Suns: 4.5, 8.70M) as the least-watched Game 1 of the Finals since 2007.

Boston went up by 10 points late in the first quarter and only didn’t lead by double digits for about a minute of the entire last three quarter. This was a contributing factor for the lack of viewership.

The audience for Game 1 peaked in the 9:15 p.m. ET quarter-hour with 12.11 million viewers and continued declining the rest of the night. The NBA Finals opener finished with just 9.01 million viewers in the final 10:45 p.m. ET quarter-hour.

However, at least it outperformed the opener of the 2020 (7.69 million) and 2021 (8.70 million) Finals matchups. Also, viewership for the NBA Finals opener shattered one network record.

Finals opener delivered the largest Game 1 audience share on ABC

Per Nielsen, the Celtics’ 18-point victory over the Mavericks delivered the largest Game 1 audience share ever on ABC with 20.3 percent, quadrupling the viewership of the closest competition on television.

The audience share in the coveted 18-34 demographic – 49.6 percent – is the largest ever for an NBA Finals Game 1 on ABC. It seems both Millennials and Generation Z could be more interested in this series.

Moreover, in the 77 NBA Finals that have been played, 70.1% of the champions have won the series opener. The Celtics have a 66.4% chance of taking a 2-0 series lead at TD Garden, according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.

Dallas is now 1-5 against the C’s in its last six meetings. The Mavericks haven’t beaten Boston in over two years — last doing so at TD Garden on March 13, 2022.

Game 2 of the 2024 NBA Finals airs on Sunday, June 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.