May 02, 2011
With a litany of close games, fresh faces and exciting storylines, the first round of the playoffs was an NBA fan's dream scenario.
And, via the television ratings, it appears as if the two-week run was a hit with the fair-weather fans, as well. Because TNT made a huge jump with its TV ratings during the opening round, shooting up 27 percent among households in comparison to last season, and improving by 32 percent amongst total viewers.
Age brackets from 18 to 54 years of age all saw significant improvements that averaged around nearly a 36 percent increase as compared to this time last season. And while the presence of the New York Knicks for four games in the first round no doubt helped (it was New York's first postseason visit since 2004), only two Knick games (both broadcast locally on MSG) were featured on TNT.
No, this run was driven by teams from Oklahoma City, Denver, Memphis, San Antonio, Portland and Dallas. Three exciting series' with compelling characters and close games. This was easily the most competitive opening round of the playoffs since the NBA went to this format in 1984 (though, curiously, no series went to seven games, which would have improved the numbers even more), and fans tuned in as a result.
Also consider this a reflection of Turner's work with the NBA. Other national broadcast units have come and gone over the last 25 years, but TNT has long been the go-to source for how to broadcast an NBA game, and viewers are tuning in by the millions to acknowledge that.