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Lockout? What lockout? NBA gets strong television ratings

Apr 25, 2012, 2:50 PM EDT

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When the lockout dragged on we kept hearing about how fans were going to stay away from the NBA this season. We had fans saying would not come back.

Um, yes you did.

The final numbers are in on the season and while the NBA didn’t see explosive growth the television ratings for the regular season were up this year, reports the USA Today.

ABC’s games are averaging 3.3% of U.S. TV households, up 10% from last year. ESPN, despite a scrambled schedule that put NBA games in time slots where they hadn’t previously aired, is averaging 1.3%. That’s even with last year, when ESPN’s NBA games got their best ratings since the network got NBA rights in 2002.

TNT’s games are averaging 1.7%. That’s up only slightly from last year, when NBA got strong ratings partly from the buzz about LeBron James joining the Miami Heat. But TNT is on track for its most-watched NBA games ever in part because of continuing interest in the Heat — its four highest-rated games, outside Christmas Day, involved that team.

With teams like the Heat, Bulls, Thunder and two teams from the Los Angeles market in the playoffs, expect ratings to be up for the postseason as well.

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