National Basketball Association Nielsen ratings

National Basketball Association Nielsen Ratings

National Basketball Association Nielsen ratings

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The National Basketball Association has achieved a rapid rise and fall in television ratings since the 1997–1998 NBA season, when ratings for the NBA Finals achieved a record high, to the 2002–2003 NBA 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 1998–1999 season and caused fan apathy. Other blame has been put on the retirement of Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan, also on backlash against the new "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 fall in ratings, the NBA's regular season ratings average is only slightly lower than Major League Baseball's, and ratings for the finals continue to outdraw competing events that occur during the same month, golf's U.S. Open and the Stanley Cup Finals.

CBS (1973–1990)

During CBS' tenure as NBA over-the-air carrier, the NBA experienced its first resurgence, under the leadership of Los Angeles Lakers guard Magic Johnson and rival Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird. After the then-lowest Nielsen ratings in NBA history in 1981, Bird and Magic led the NBA to unprecedented popularity, and much higher ratings. Before the arrival of the two stars, and the recreation of the previously-fiery Lakers–Celtics rivalry,...
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