SBD/February 23, 2011/Media

Young Stars Like Durant, Love Helping NBA Ratings Increase This Season

Love's, Durant's play has translated into strong local ratings for NBA
Leagues "always talk about young stars bolstering fan interest," and "that's happening" with Thunder F Kevin Durant and T'Wolves F Kevin Love in Oklahoma City and Minneapolis, respectively, according to Michael Hiestand of USA TODAY. At the All-Star break, TNT's NBA ratings are up 26%, ESPN's are up 15% and ABC's are up 32%. However, ratings for TNT broadcasts in Oklahoma City are up 150%, "its biggest jump among NBA cities," while ESPN is up 59% in the Twin Cities, "its biggest boost among NBA cities." Hiestand writes "having good teams in big markets helps" the NBA's overall ratings, "as does having a not horrible team in New York." Hiestand: "Networks will no doubt try to turn Carmelo Anthony's trade to the New York Knicks into a ratings booster rocket." There also is some "ratings luck," including ESPN televising Sunday night's Knicks-Heat game, which it "might hype a tad" (USA TODAY, 2/23).

IN TALKS WITH YOUTUBE: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Jun Yang reports Google's YouTube "is in talks" with the NBA and NHL "to show live games, building on the popularity of cricket's Indian Premier League last year." Google Dir of Content Partnerships for Asia Pacific Gautam Anand said that YouTube "aims to show more live sports in the second half of the year." YouTube Partnership's Brian Suh said that Google "is in talks with 'most pro sports leagues' including NBA and NHL, as well as soccer leagues in Europe." Yang writes adding live sports broadcasts "may help YouTube expand revenue by keeping viewers on its site longer to woo more advertisers." NBA Senior VP/Marketing Communications Mike Bass: "We're pleased that YouTube recognizes the value of live sports" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 2/23). NHL COO John Collins said "classic games and highlights" could be part of a YouTube deal, as the league wants to "get our product out to fans as easily as we can so we stress the latest technology." But he added the league's current "subscription" model for out-of-market games is "probably where we'll put our focus" (Bloomberg TV, 2/23).
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