National Basketball Association Nielsen Ratings

National Basketball Association Nielsen Ratings

The National Basketball Association achieved a rapid rise and fall in television ratings from the 1997-98 season, when ratings for the NBA Finals achieved a record high, to the 2002-03 season, when ratings for the same event hit an all-time record low. Blame for this rise and fall has been pinned on the destructive NBA lockout which occurred right after the 1998 season. The lockout wiped out thirty-two games of the 1998-99 season and caused fan apathy. Other blame has been put on the retirement of Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan, also on backlash against the "hip-hop" culture of the league, and as well as heavy competition from prime time programming such as American Idol, the CSI shows, and Dancing With The Stars.

Despite the problems in the early-to-mid-2000s (decade), the NBA's regular season ratings average was (and is) on par with Major League Baseball's, and ratings for the finals continue to outdraw competing events that occur during the same month, such as golf's U.S. Open and the Stanley Cup Finals.

Since 2007, NBA ratings have steadily risen, thanks to the resurgence of nationally recognized NBA teams, their star power, and their annual presence in the NBA Finals. Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals had the best rating for a basketball game in the contemporary NBA on ABC era, and the 2011 Finals held steady in the ratings department as well. Both series drew over a 10 rating, beating the World Series in consecutive years for the first time ever.

However, despite the declining TV ratings in the early 2000s (decade) and moderate ratings after, NBA's television audience is often younger, and thus very attractive to advertisers.

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