Game 1 Of 2024 NBA Finals Grabs Just 11 Million Viewers

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The Boston Celtics are one of the marquee teams in the NBA, and are typically a solid draw when it comes to interest and ratings. But it might be a tough 2024 Finals series as far as viewership goes, if Game 1 is any indication.

NBA Finals Game 1 Draws Less Than 11 Million Viewers

Ratings for NBA Finals games have been in a steady decline. The mid-2010s matchups between the Warriors and Cavaliers drew big audiences, with the 2016 and 2017 meetings drawing more than 20 million viewers on average. The Raptors/Warriors series in 2019 dropped down to 15 million, a number that was cut in half for the “Bubble” Finals series between the Lakers and Heat.

The NBA hasn’t seen viewership of more than about 12 million ever since. Last season’s matchup between the Heat and Nuggets was thought to be a ratings nightmare, and it saw an average of 11.6 million viewers over the 5 games.

By comparison, Game 1 of this year’s Finals between the Celtics and Mavericks drew just shy of 11 million. The only Game 1s that drew lower ratings since 2007 were the 2020 (Heat/Lakers) and 2021 (Bucks/Suns).

Blowout Win By Celtics Didn’t Help The Cause

The game itself being a lopsided affair certainly didn’t help the cause. The Celtics were able to jump out to a quick double-digit lead in the first quarter on Thursday night, and never looked back. Boston easily covered the 6.5-point spread, winning by an 18 point margin, and are now big favorites to win the series outright (-400).

Jaylen Brown led the balanced scoring attack for the Celtics in the game, finishing with 22 points. Kristaps Porziņģis scored 20 on 8 of 13 shooting off of the bench in his return from injury, and Jayson Tatum added 16. Luka Dončić led the way for Dallas with 30 points, but no other player on the Mavericks roster had more than 14.

Game 2 of the NBA Finals will be played in Boston on Sunday evening and will be broadcasted on ABC. The Celtics are hoping for a repeat performance, and are listed as 7.5-point favorites. The league is hoping that the Sunday affair will draw bigger crowds than the mid-week one.

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