The New York Knicks are looking for Carmelo Anthony to raise their game on the court and in the NBA standings. For its part, regional sports network Madison Square Garden Network will look to lift its ratings with an Anthony lead-in before his first game for the club on Wednesday night.
The All-Star small forward, who was finally acquired from the Denver Nuggets for a host of Knicks players and other assets, will be the subject of a "Melo Marathon," so to speak, beginning on Feb. 23 at 10 a.m.
The RSN -- which has dunked a 55% increase through 51 Knicks games this season to a 1.52 household rating in the New York DMA from a 0.98 average at the same stage of last season -- will run cut down versions of Anthony's two games with the Nuggets against New York this year as Carmelo in 60 at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively.
Those will be followed by full versions of Anthony's debut at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3, 2003 at noon, and his 50-point outburst versus the orange and blue on Nov. 27, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. In addition, MSG's Al Trautwig will provide live cut-ins and news updates from MSG Studios throughout the day.
Knicks Game Night Live will air at 7 p.m., with Anthony's first game with his new team against the Milwaukee Bucks, tipping at 7:30 p.m.
MSGN, which has also scored well with Knicks contests among guys 18 to 34 this season with 137% amelioration to a 2.18 mark against that group from a 0.92 last season, figures to record a major jump with the Nielsens tomorrow. Whether the debut of Anthony, now pairing with fellow All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire, will enable MSGN to challenge the 3.61 household rating and 271,303 homes the network garnered with its Dec. 15 coverage of the Knicks's 118-116 loss to the Boston Celtics, remains to be seen.
That was MSG's top Knicks telecast since the opening night of the 2001 season, when Michael Jordan's second return to pro basketball, that time with the Washington Wizards, drew a 4.76 rating on Oct. 30 that year.