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NBA ratings rise in shortened season

ABC, TNT gamecasts both up from the previous season

The shortened NBA regular season was good for the league’s television partners.

ABC delivered its highest-rated and most viewed regular season ever with a 5.4 million average over 15 broadcasts, up 6% from last season.

TNT’s basketball ratings were up 4% from the year before in a regular season that was the most viewed on the network in 28 years. An average of 2.5 million viewers watched the game telecasts on the cabler, which saw its fifth straight year of ratings growth for the broadcasts.

Top game of the season on TNT was the lockout-delayed opener on Christmas Day when the Boston Celtics traveled to face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Contest drew 5.8 million viewers.

ESPN didn’t set any records (a 1.5 cable rating) but matched its numbers from a year ago. Because of the quickly put-together schedule, the cabler didn’t have as many high-profile games on its Wednesday and Friday telecasts as in previous seasons.

On the league-owned NBA TV, total viewership was up 33% from the previous season. Most-watched game was the Jan. 14 content between Los Angeles rivals the Clippers and Lakers, which drew 756,000 to become the most-watched show in NBA TV history.

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