According to TV By The Numbers (via Sports Media Watch “TNT averaged a 1.5 U.S. rating and 2.325 million viewers for 32 NBA games through January 27, up 25 percent in ratings and 31% in viewership from the same point last year.”
The numbers have been strong all season long. TNT posted record numbers for the season-opener and telecasts on that network and ESPN are up 30 percent over the previous season. (Up 23 percent if you take out the Miami Heat games.)
The return of the New York Knicks to respectability has helped, as local ratings in NYC have soared 36 percent.
Part of the increase is due to the momentum built by the 2010 Finals, which posted the highest average numbers since 2004. The ratings from last summer were no doubt helped by the teams (The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers) and Game 7, which put up an 18.2 rating.
Somewhere, David Stern is a very happy man.