This was impossible to predict. After the momentum that the NBA enjoyed last season, many thought that the lockout would’ve wiped that all away. Apparently that isn’t the case at all. Who knew?
Although shortened training camps have produced some ragged play, the NBA’s first week has been a success by other measures.
The post-lockout scramble to fill rosters through free agency and trades was enormously entertaining, a fantasy league come to life. Chris Paul was a Laker, then he wasn’t. He was a Clipper, then he wasn’t and then he was. The twists and rumors were perfect for Twitter-addicted fans and players who commented on their Twitter accounts, creating greater anticipation for the season than a normal training camp could have.
The five Christmas Day openers produced healthy ratings on TNT, ABC and ESPN, as ABC drew 11 million viewers for the Lakers-Chicago Bulls game, its third-largest NBA audience ever. TNT’s average of 5.9 million viewers for the Boston Celtics-New York Knicks game made that the most-viewed NBA Christmas Day game on cable.
In addition, 25 of the first 32 games were sellouts, up from 19 of the first 32 last season. Chris Granger, the NBA’s executive vice president for team marketing and business operations, said fan-friendly initiatives helped teams play to 99.2% of capacity over the first 32 games, up from 90.3% for the full 2010-11 season.
“We’re very focused on our relationship with our fans and our suite holders and our corporate partners, and have been throughout this work stoppage,” Granger said in a phone conversation. “We clearly appreciate their patience. We clearly understand the stresses we put on them and their businesses.