Phil Jackson is sick of having basketball games get in the way of Christmas, but he shouldn’t look forward to any reprieves from the NBA until he retires. The ratings from Saturday’s blockbuster double-header on ABC are in, and let’s just say the NBA on December 25th has become a tradition like the NFL on Thanksgiving.
The Celtics-Magic and Lakers-Heat — the two games on ABC — saw a ratings increase of 45% compared to last year. Even the other three games on ESPN were up 20% from a year ago. The 6.4 rating for the Lakers and Heat was almost 50% higher than last year’s Lakers-Cavs game, proving the Miami Heat is one of the most intriguing teams in sports. In fact, only the 2004 Heat-Lakers Shaq revenge game on Christmas was rated higher during the regular season the past seven years.
Many people groused when LeBron, Bosh, and Wade all joined forces in Miami, forming a super team. I immediately said it was good for the NBA, and approved with a smug grin from Stern, because it would spark more fan interest. That has truly been the case, and these ratings only augment that point. Business is booming for the NBA, and you can thank the Miami Heat superteam for being the biggest reason why. It also doesn’t hurt that Kobe and LeBron seem to be legitimate rivals too.
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