NBA on Track for Most-Watched Season with TNT and ESPN

February 10, 2011

According to USA Today, TNT and ESPN are on track to turn in cable TV’s most-watched NBA seasons ever.

TNT’ 27th season of NBA coverage is on track to be its highest-rated ever, beating the 1995-96 season as the top-drawing season. Marv Albert, TNT announcer, claimed that the ratings increase is due to the fact that the league “has a new villain” in the Heat.

Albert continued: “Miami is the major factor that TV ratings are sky high. And as bad as (ESPN’s) ‘The Decision’ show was … you need a team you don’t like”

TNT’s 34 game telecasts to date are up 25% and 33%, respectively, from a 1.2 U.S. rating and 1.769 million viewers at the same point last year. Ad sales for the NBA on TNT are also pacing up 30% from the same point last year.

NBA TV also continues to see ratings success, as the 14 games that have been part of the net’s Tuesday “Fan Night” are averaging 384,000 viewers. The net for 55 games season-to-date is averaging 242,000 viewers, with the net’s ad sales up 223%.

Meanwhile, NBA games on ESPN are also seeing big gains heading towards the All-Star break. Through 44 games, ESPN is averaging a 1.3 U.S. rating and 2.026 million viewers, up 18.2% and 22.3%, respectively, from a 1.1 rating and 1.657 million viewers at the same point last year.