NBA Ratings Seeing Major Bounce Year-to-Year
March 10, 2008 1:20 PM
Don’t look now, but the NBA seems poised to score its first year-to-year ratings gains in more than a decade.
With major-market teams such as the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers relevant again, and any one of nine or 10 clubs poised to go for the NBA title this season, professional basketball is unquestionably hot right now. (Of course, sports in general are on fire, in case you didn’t read my article last week.)
That said, a flurry of high-profile moves late in the season has every single national broadcaster that’s carrying the sport moving upward on the ratings charts. On ABC, NBA coverage on ABC is earning a 2.5 rating, up 9% in households from 2007, and it’s up 20% in share. On cable partners ESPN and TNT, the NBA has grown 10% year-to-year in rating, earning a 1.1 rating on both channels.
“When we decided to sign up for another eight years of the NBA, we felt as if we were about to catch a wave, and now hopefully it will continue,” said David Levy, president of Turner Sports, which carries NBA games on TNT. “We are extremely happy with the ratings growth we’ve seen from the sport, and remember, that’s with New York not even fielding a contender.”
Another key category that bodes well for the sport is the double-digit growth on all three outlets among men 18-34, where spikes as high as 33% promise that young fans are adopting the sport for, ideally, a lifetime.
“This season was sparked after Boston completed those off-season trades, and suddenly it’s not just the Boston Celtics who were benefiting but the Celtic brand as well,” said Mr. Levy. “For a sport to grow they need those big markets and big brands such as the Celtics, Lakers, and Bulls to be contenders. Through the trades we’ve seen this season for the likes of Jason Kidd and Shaquille O’Neal, the NBA is suddenly on the front page of the sports section again.”