Actually, This Is The Most Popular NBA Season Ever

Charles Barkley

In advance of the NBA All-Star game, and with Buzz Bissinger’s column explaining why the NBA is losing fans firmly in mind, we reached out to TNT to find some data to back him up.

And they couldn’t help us.

Instead, they said that through 36 telecasts, 2010-2011 is the most watched season in the 27 year history of TNT’s NBA Coverage. (FYI, Buzz, that spans to John Stockton’s rookie season, and to Larry Bird’s fifth season in the Association.)

Telecasts average a 1.5 rating, up 32 per cent from last year. 2.42 million viewers watch the typical TNT NBA game, a 36 per cent increase on last year, and 28 per cent more viewers than in 1995-1996, the next most-watched season in NBA history. So it’s no surprise that TNT is experiencing “strong ad sales.”

Combine that hard data with the league’s skilled use of YouTube and social media, and the notion that the NBA’s relevance is in decline is simply not based in fact.

So before you date yourself and talk about the NBA’s declining popularity – relevant back in the mid-2000s, but probably due to the “Great Talent Abyss” – check to make sure it’s actually losing popularity in the first place.

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