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NHL, NBA Finals Score Strong Ratings Debuts

The NBA Finals and the NHL Stanley Cup Finals jumped out to strong ratings starts in their respective best of seven series.

Thursday’s game one telecast of the Cleveland Cavaliers-Golden State Warriors NBA Finals drew 17.7 million viewers, a record for a Game 1 telecast on ABC, said Nielsen.

The game, in which Golden State won in an overtime thriller, was up 21% from 14.6 million for last year’s San Antonio-Miami game, according to Nielsen.

Game 2 of Cavaliers-Warriors airs Sunday on ABC.

Online, NBA Finals Game 1 on ESPN3 delivered a record 677,669 unique viewers, which is up 117% from Game 1 in 2014.

NBC’s game 1 Chicago Blackhawks-Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup Finals Wednesday averaged 5.5 million viewers, the most watched game 1 telecast ever for NBC and the most watched, non-overtime game 1 telecast in 18 years, according to Nielsen.

The game, won by the Blackhawks, was up 16% compared to last year’s New York Rangers-Los Angeles Kings game 1 telecast.

The Blackhawks and Lightning will hit the ice for game 2 Saturday night on NBC.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.