— Sparks-Lynx: Best Game 1 Audience since 1998 across ESPN Networks —
Sunday’s Game 1 of the 2016 WNBA Finals was the most-watched Game 1 ever on ABC, with an average audience of 597,000, according to Nielsen. The game, which featured a 78-76 buzzer-beating win by the Los Angeles Sparks over the Minnesota Lynx was the most-watched WNBA Finals Game 1 since 1998 across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. The game earned a 0.4 U.S. household rating and peaked with 693,000 viewers and a 0.5 U.S. rating from 4:45 – 5:08 p.m. ET.
The top five local markets were: Minneapolis (2.1); Nashville (1.4); Hartford-New Haven (1.3); Louisville (1.0); Charlotte (0.9). Los Angeles delivered a 0.4 metered market rating.
The WNBA implemented a new playoff format this season that ensured the top eight teams in the league, regardless of conference, would secure a spot in the postseason. This year’s Finals feature the top two teams in the league, with the Sparks leading the series 1-0. The Finals continue Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.