Turner Network Television and ESPN are enjoying a ratings windfall from their
coverage of the first round of the National Basketball Association playoffs.
Nearly two weeks into the pro-hoops postseason, both networks are reporting
higher-than-expected ratings -- which, executives said, bodes well for cable's
unprecedented access to the league's remaining playoff rounds.
Continuing the ratings momentum from the second half of its regular-season
coverage, TNT averaged a 2.5 household rating for its first 20 NBA-playoff
telecasts through April 28. That marked a 19 percent uptick over the 2.1 posted
for the same number of first-round games TNT and TBS Superstation aired last
year, TNT officials said.
ESPN, meanwhile, averaged a 2.2 rating for its eight postseason games through
April 27, more than triple what the time periods averaged in 2002, network