SBD/April 27, 2011/Media

NBA Playoffs Help TNT Earn Best Week Ever In Total-Day Audience

Bulls-Pacers last Thursday has been NBA TV's most-viewed game during '11 Playoffs
The '11 NBA Playoffs on TNT last week helped the net earn its best week ever in total-day audience (24-hour basis) with an average of 1.7 million viewers. The network's first week of games averaged 4.3 million viewers (+39%) and also helped TNT see its best April ever. TNT also led all cable nets in primetime for the week with 3.5 million viewers, with the closest channel being USA Network with 2.8 million viewers. NBA TV has also averaged 466,000 viewers for its four NBA Playoff simulcasts through Monday. This year marks the first time the net has been Nielsen-rated for the playoffs, with each playoff broadcast airing up against a TNT game. Bulls-Pacers Game Three last Thursday has been NBA TV's most-viewed playoff game to date with 652,000 viewers. For comparison, Versus' non-exclusive coverage on the same night of the Bruins-Canadiens NHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals averaged 599,000 viewers (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). CABLEFAX DAILY writes the "only thing that appears capable of halting the momentum of the NBA on TNT is the league itself," whose CBA expires June 30 (CABLEFAX DAILY, 4/27).

AND THE THUNDER ROLLED
: In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht noted TNT earned an 11.0 local rating on Monday night for Game Four of the Thunder-Nuggets NBA Western Conference First Round series, marking the best rating in the market for the series to date. Ratings in Oklahoma City through four games are "up 2 percent from the first four games" of the Lakers-Thunder series last year (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 4/26).

LIVING SOCIAL: ESPN.com's Maria Burns Ortiz wrote the NBA "has embraced social media in a way that perhaps no other sport has, making it an integral part of the league's day-to-day operations." At a time when the NBA is seeing record TV numbers, Ortiz noted it is no coincidence that the league has experienced "unprecedented growth among its social media platforms." The NBA "just surpassed 100 million combined followers and likes on Twitter and Facebook." Approximately "half of the NBA's players (220 and counting) are on Twitter, including almost all of the game's biggest stars." Ortiz noted that "from a daily social media strategy conference call to the final postgame tweet, these efforts seek to create what commissioner David Stern likes to refer to as a 'digital watercooler'" (ESPN.com, 4/25).
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