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Early Ratings: Game 1 of 2020 NBA Finals on ABC Loses Half of 2019’s TV Audience

The NBA Finals tipped off a few months late in 2020, and boy do the earliest TV ratings reflect the affects of coronavirus.

Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals settled for a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49 and 5.3 million total viewers. Now, those averages will rise significantly when final Nielsen data becomes available, but they are currently about half of what last year’s comparable preliminary data estimated for ABC.

Mind you, that’s WITH the return of LeBron James to the Finals. (The 2019 NBA Finals were already down quite a bit in ratings with no LeBron and one Canadian team.)

ABC finished first in the key adults 18-49 demographic last night in primetime. Fox is currently No. 1 in total viewers thanks to “The Masked Singer,” but that ranking will probably change when final, time zone-adjusted numbers arrive.

For now, ABC was first in primetime ratings with a 1.8 rating/10 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and second in total viewers with an average of 4.8 million, according to preliminary numbers. At 8 p.m., the “Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night” primetime special earned a 1.1/7 and 4.2 million viewers. The NBA Finals pre-game show at 8:30 had a 1.0/6 and 3.3 million viewers. Game 1, a showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, started at 9 and ran throughout the rest of primetime, scoring the above-mentioned rating and total-viewers tally.

Fox was second in ratings with a 1.4/8 and first in viewers with 5.4 million. “The Masked Singer” at 8 posted a 1.7/10 and 6.5 million viewers. At 9, “I Can See Your Voice” received a 1.1/6 and 4.4 million viewers.

CBS was third in ratings with a 0.6/4 and in viewers with 2.7 million. At 8, “Big Brother” got a 1.0/6 and 4.2 million viewers. The “Love Island” finale at 9 had a 0.5/3 and 2 million viewers. At 10, “48 Hours: Suspicions” settled for a 0.3/2 and 2 million viewers.

Univision and NBC tied for fourth in ratings, each with a 0.4/2. NBC, which aired all reruns, was fourth in viewers with 2.1 million and Univision was fifth with 996,000.

Telemundo was sixth in ratings with a 0.3/2 and in viewers with 964,000.

The CW was seventh in ratings with a 0.1/1 and in viewers with 563,000. At 8, the series finale of “The 100” took a 0.2/1 and 629,000 viewers. Encores followed.

Related stories from TheWrap:

5 Reasons Why Donald Trump Is Dead Wrong Boasting About Record Debate Ratings

Why ABC's NBA Finals Face Uphill Battle in TV Ratings – Despite LeBron James and the Lakers

Biden-Trump Debate Broadcast Ratings Drop Sharply From 2016

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