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2019 NBA Finals Game 1 now most-watched hoops broadcast of all time in Canada

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Toronto’s historic playoff run continues with yet another record audience tuning in for Raptors-Warriors

2019 NBA Finals Game 1 now the most-watched hoops broadcast of all time in Canada, Pascal Siakam Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

All of Toronto is caught up in a wave of Raptors hoopla, and the TV ratings for last night’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals confirm what you probably suspected: The rest of the country is equally invested! A heck of a lot of people were watching last night: 7.4 million Canadians tuned in to watch the Raptors take on — and defeat! — the defending champion Golden State Warriors:

7.4 million! We’re approaching one-quarter of the country’s entire population, here! On average, 3.3 million people were watching the game, and as the clock ticked down at 11:35 p.m. and the Raptors celebrated their first-ever Finals win, 4.1 million Canadians were watching.

Now, if this story seems to familiar to you, that’s because... it is! This is at least the third time the Raptors have set a television viewing record in Canada, first with Raptors-76ers Game 7 and Raptors-Bucks Game 6.

Remember when Pascal Siakam kept setting, and then leap-frogging, career-highs in scoring this season? The Raptors are now doing the same thing on TV!

Also, consider this: thousands of people were watching the game last night at community viewing parties across the country, numbers the TV ratings don’t capture. 20,000 people showed up at Mississauga city hall alone! The game also played at Cineplex theatres for those who wanted to watch on a big-screen, which, frankly, is a brilliant idea.

So TV isn’t the only way to watch the Raptors in the Finals (there’s also bars, streaming, etc.) but the numbers tell us one thing beyond any doubt: Canada is behind this Raptors team, and they're caught up in the wave.

Will the numbers continue to grow? If the Raptors continue to win, I’m certain you’ll be seeing more of these posts in the next couple of weeks.