SBD/February 18, 2014/Media

NBA All-Star Game Audience Below '13, But Up From Previous Olympic Competition

TNT finished with a 4.3 fast-national rating and 7.5 million viewers for the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night, which is down from last year as the '14 event had primetime competition from the Sochi Games. Last year's ASG drew a 4.6 rating and 8.0 million viewers. However, Sunday night's ASG was up big compared to the last time the event had Olympic competition. The game in '10 drew a 3.8 rating and 6.8 million viewers opposite the Vancouver Games. Compared to '06, when the ASG went up against the Turin Games, the game was relatively flat. Sunday night's ASG peaked at a 4.7 rating and 8.3 million viewers during the 9:00-9:15pm ET window. TNT also won the night across all cable nets on Sunday. Oklahoma City led all markets for the game, followed by host market New Orleans, Richmond, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale and San Antonio (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

NBA ALL-STAR GAME AUDIENCE TREND ON TNT
YEAR
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
LOCATION
'14*
4.3
7,500
New Orleans
'13
4.6
8,020
Houston
'12**
4.4
7,070
Orlando
'11
5.2
9,093
L.A.
'10*
3.8
6,846
Dallas
'09
4.5
7,621
Phoenix
'08
3.8
6,334
New Orleans
'07
4.2
6,843
Las Vegas
'06*
4.3
7,070
Houston

CHART NOTES: * = Aired opposite Winter Olympic coverage. ** = Aired opposite the Academy Awards due to late start to season (lockout).

MORE THOUGHTS ON DUNK CONTEST: CBS Sports Network's Tony Luftman said the Sprite Slam Dunk contest has long been the "crown jewel" of All-Star Saturday night, but it was a "total disappointment" this year. With Pacers F Paul George, Wizards G John Wall and Trail Blazers G Damian Lillard making up the "most talented field in years," what fans "ended up with was three slam dunk champions." Luftman: "It’s hard to blame new commish Adam Silver for this debacle considering he’s only been in office all of 17 days. But please, Adam, for the love of Dr. J ... return the dunk contest to its traditional structure and scoring system next year in Brooklyn.” The Orange County Register's Dan Woike called the competition "pretty horrible" and said, "The crowd was dead, the players had no clue what was going on.” FoxSports.com's Reid Forgrave said, “It’s kind of ridiculous to have this as a team event. It’s the ultimate individual event in all skills competitions." But CBSSports.com's Zach Harper said, “I like the format. I think it’s got a lot of potential to really work out." He did acknowledge the NBA could "tweak it a little bit" and have a "plan for if one conference sweeps the other conference" ("Rome," CBSSN, 2/17). ESPN's Michael Smith said the dunk contest "totally jumped the shark the other night." Smith: "At this point, just kill it. I could do away with it because it takes so much for us to be impressed by dunks. We don’t need it" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/17).

FINE WITH THE IDEA: ESPN's Bomani Jones said he "kind of liked" the new format because of the "idea of guys from different teams throwing alley-oops for each other going over and over and over again dunking, looking almost like a commercial" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 2/17). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "I'm fine with rule changes, I'm fine with anything that tightens it up a little bit. But I think at the end, you can't let people call in as to who's the winner." ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "Stop with the fan vote. All the leagues and networks get lazy with, 'We're going to incorporate the fan'" ("PTI," ESPN, 2/17).

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