NBA All-Star Game sets cable record

Feb 17, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The NBA All-Star Game last week was a slam-dunk for TNT.
Sporting an energized Michael Jordan in what is likely to be his final All-Star Game appearance, as well as a double-overtime nail-biter finish, the 2003 edition ranks as the most-watched basketball game, whether pro or college, in advertising-supported cable history.
Not only is the game the most-watched, but the postgame show and pregame show rank third and fourth, respectively, on the all-time list of NBA programs on ad-supported cable.
The telecast by TNT, a division of AOL Time Warner, drew 10,829,000 total viewers, besting TNT’s telecast of a Bulls-Magic playoff game in May 1996, cable’s previous high scorer, which delivered 8,185,000 viewers.
In head-to-head competition with other all-star games on broadcast or cable, TNT’s NBA telecast goes into the books as the most-watched by adults 18 to 34 and men 18 to 34 of any all-star game in any professional league since NBC’s July 1998 telecast of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
So popular with the Nielsens was TNT’s telecast that, for the time period, TNT beat all broadcast networks in delivery of men 18 to 34 (2,227,000), 18 to 49 (4,166,000) and 25 to 54 (3,614,000).
TNT did have to withdraw an earlier claim that the All-Star Game outscored broadcast in the delivery of all persons 18 to 34. But TNT’s first-time coverage of the game ranked in the top 30 among all programs, both broadcast and cable, the week it was telecast with tweens 9 to 14, teens 12 to 17, persons 12 to 24, persons 18 to 24 and persons 18 to 34.
In fact, in the hotly pursued 18 to 34 demo, the All-Star Game came in 21st for the week, right below Fox’s “Bernie Mac” but ahead of both ABC’s “Celebrity Mole Hawaii” and CBS’s “CSI: Miami,” in 22nd place and 23rd place, respectively.