TNT enjoyed another strong NBA run in 2009-10, as the network’s regular-season deliveries were its best since the return of Michael Jordan.
Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data, TNT averaged 1.72 million viewers over the course of 53 NBA games, up 1 percent from last season’s 1.71 million viewers. This season’s NBA deliveries were up 15 percent versus the 2007-08 campaign, when TNT averaged 1.5 million pro hoops fans.
On the season, TNT drew 544,000 adults 18-34, flat versus last season’s turnout (543,000), and up 14 percent from the 2007-08 season.
TNT enjoyed its biggest delivery of the regular season on opening night (Oct. 27), as the Celtics and Cavaliers squared off in front of a national TV audience of 4.02 million viewers. The tip-off match also served up 2.23 million adults 18-49 and 1.24 million 18-34s. The high-water mark for the younger demo was reached later that same night, as the Clippers and Lakers nightcap drew 1.36 million 18-34s.
The last time TNT topped its current ratings mark was in 1995-96, the year Michael Jordan returned from his self-imposed minor league baseball exile. Jordan’s reemergence and the Bulls’ subsequent 72-10 season helped TNT average a record 1.89 million total viewers and 583,000 adults 18-34.
As an adjunct to the linear ratings, NBA Digital put up some gaudy numbers as well.
NBA.com has streamed 1 billion videos across all platforms since the end of last season, marking a 65 percent year-over-year improvement. At the same time, NBA Mobile has served up more than 1.7 million downloads since the launch of NBA Game Time a year ago.
On Sunday, April 18, TNT will tip off its NBA Playoffs coverage with a Western Conference tripleheader (Thunder-Lakers, Spurs-Mavs, Blazers-Suns). Last year, the network averaged 4.71 million viewers over 43 playoff games, up 24 percent from the previous post-season.