SBJ/20090126/This Week's News

Ratings up 17% on ESPN, down 2% on Turner

The NBA’s national television ratings are up 17 percent on ESPN with a 1.4 average (1.33 million households) rating over 34 telecasts, compared with a 1.2 rating (1.19 million households) over 33 telecasts through Jan. 19 last season. The two Christmas Day games broadcast this season on ABC generated a 4.3 rating (4.9 million households) compared with a 3.3 rating (3.7 million households) over two broadcasts for the two Christmas Day games last season.

“We are still riding the wave of last year’s Finals and we are coming off Team USA in the Olympics,” said Doug White, senior director of programming and acquisitions for ESPN/ABC Sports. “There is also better performance from the Eastern Conference with teams like Boston, Cleveland and Orlando really balancing the league.”

2008-2009 NBA national television ratings (through Jan. 14)
Network
No. of games
Rating
% Change from last year
TNT
25
1
-2%
ESPN
34
1.4
17%
ABC
2
4.3
30%
Source: Turner, ESPN/ABC

Ratings are down 2 percent on Turner. Through Jan. 19, the NBA on TNT generated a 1.0 average rating (1.199 million households) over 25 games, compared to a 1.1 rating (1.203 million households) over 27 games through Jan. 19 last season.

Jennifer Storms, Turner’s senior vice president of marketing and programming, said Turner’s numbers weren’t surprising given some of the poor early-season games on the network.

 She expects ratings to rise in the next few weeks, when TNT has better matchups in the run-up to the NBA All-Star Game, part of a longtime Turner strategy of programming marquee games to help market the midseason showcase. Turner holds the rights to the game.

“This is part of our programming and flow strategy,” she said.

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