David Stern finally gave ground during lockout negotiations to get games on Christmas. That is when the average fan starts paying attention to the NBA. Start playing by then and you limit the backlash…
What backlash? There’s apparently no backlash.
NBA telecasts on Christmas set record ratings, reports the USA Today. Four of the five Christmas day games drew better ratings than their counterparts last Christmas, and the one that didn’t still drew monster numbers.
TNT’s Celtics at Knicks was up 52 percent compared to that slot last year. The finals rematch of Dallas and Miami on ABC was up six percent over last year (Boston/Orlando).
The Bulls at the Lakers was actually down six percent from the year before, when the Heat visited the Lakers. But that Bulls/Lakers contest was still the most watched game of the day and ABC’s third highest regular season broadcast ever.
On ESPN at night, Orlando at Oklahoma City was up 36 percent, the Clippers at the Warriors was up 77 percent.
Clearly matchups dictate part of this (people tuned in to watch Chris Paul and the Clippers, for example), but the NBA may not have lost the momentum it picked up last season when it saw the best television ratings since the Jordan era. One day in and nobody is talking lockout anymore.