Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat dominated the television ratings on Wednesday night.
Per Variety, Game 1 – an easy 116-98 victory for the Lakers – recorded 7.4 million viewers on ABC. However, Variety noted that this was a massive drop from Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals between the dynastic Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors.
Last year, viewership in the United States for that game reportedly came in at 13.31 million (the viewership in Canada was reported at 3.5 million), which marked the lowest in 10 years. Game 1 of the 2009 NBA Finals between the Lakers and Orlando Magic had 13.04 million viewers.
LeBron James, who’s aiming for his fourth NBA Championship ring, led the way in Game 1 with 25 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and a steal. Teammate Anthony Davis had 34 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks.
Jimmy Butler led Miami in scoring with 23 points. He also had five assists, a pair of assists and two rebounds. Kendrick Nunn chipped in with 18 points, five rebounds and two assists.
The Masked Singer on FOX drew 6.5 million viewers, per Variety.
Ratings for the Lakers-Heat game may have also been affected by the 2020 MLB postseason. There were eight games played on Wednesday, including an evening game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers.
Perhaps a large portion of Los Angeles sports fans prioritized the Dodgers game over the Lakers-Heat contest.
Ratings for the NBA Western Conference and Eastern Conference Conference Finals also dropped in 2020 compared to a year ago. The 2020 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars also experienced a noticeable drop in ratings.
Game 6 of Tampa Bay’s 2-0 Cup-clinching victory on Monday drew just 2.877 million viewers. Of course, they had competition with the highly-anticipated Monday Night Football showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, which averaged 14 million viewers.
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