The Oklahoma City Thunder and their fans weren't the only winners of Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals, as ABC scored its best Nielsen opener with the pro basketball league's championship series.
ABC's June 12 telecast -- Kevin Durant scored 37 as OKC topped LeBron James and the Miami Heat 105-94 -- scored a 9.9 household rating, 11.3 million households and nearly 16.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen, marking the Alphabet Network's highest-rated and most-viewed Game 1 in its history.
Tuesday night's deliveries surpassed the previous marks set for Game 1 of the 2004 Finals between the Detroit Pistons at Los Angeles Lakers, which averaged a 9.8 rating, 15.4 million viewers and 10.6 million households. The June 12 contest was also the highest-rated telecast of the night, propelling ABC to win the night across all networks -- broadcast and cable -- in viewership, household impressions and all key demos.
Gauged against last year's Game 1 of the Heat-Dallas Mavericks series, the rating grew 10% from a 9.0, while viewership advanced 7% from 15.2 million watchers.
Digitally, Game 1 of The Finals through simulcasts of ABC's coverage on broadband service ESPN3, logged an average minute audience of 99,199 across computers, smartphones and tablets via WatchESPN and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE, according to Adobe/Omniture. Moreover, the contest attracted 298,795 unique viewers and 16.07 million minutes across platforms, up 40% and 49%, respectively, compared to the average NBA playoff game this season, according to officials at the worldwide leader.
The 2012 NBA Finals continue with Game 2 on June 14, at 9 p.m. (ET) on ABC, ESPN Radio and ESPN3.