TNT On Pace To Dunk Highest-Rated NBA Regular Season As All-Star Weekend Nears

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With the NBA All-Star Weekend set for Staples Center from Feb. 17-20, TNT is taking substantial ratings and sales momentum into the pro hoops showcase.
The "drama" network, which has rang up three consecutive years of household growth, is on pace to deliver the most-watched of its 27 years of airing NBA action. TNT, which will present 19 hours of All-Star Weekend coverage, has averaged a 1.5 national rating through 34 games (Feb. 3), 1.76 million households and 2.36 million watchers, according to Nielsen data. Those performances represent gains of 25% (from a 1.2 rating), 30% (1.35 million households) and 33% (1.77 million watchers), respectively, over the same stage of the 2009-10 season.
Moreover, Turner representatives report that ad sales on the NBA on TNT are up 30% from last season.
As for NBA TV, which became Nielsen rated for the first time with the start of the 2010-11 season, the service has scored well with its Tuesday Fan Night schedule. Through 14 Tuesday night contests, NBA TV has averaged 293,000 households and 384,000 viewers during its rookie Nielsen run.
Overall, NBA TV, which is 223% ahead of last season's ad pace, has averaged a 0.2 rating, 187,000 households and 242,000 viewers for 55 games through Feb. 3.
Tipping with a Feb. 17 doubleheader featuring the San Antonio Spurs, the team with the league's top record, visiting the Chicago Bulls, and the Dallas Mavericks squaring off against the Phoenix Suns -- the final two games before the break -- TNT will present 19 hours of pro basketball coverage that extended All-Star Weekend.
TNT will have exclusive coverage of the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam on Friday, Feb. 18 at 9 p.m. (ET), before putting NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm under the spotlight at 8:30 p.m. (ET).
The highly anticipated "Sprite Slam Dunk" will feature Los Angeles Clippers newcomer Blake Griffin competing on his home court against JaVale McGee (Washington Wizards), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors) and Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder).The event also features the "Taco Bell Skills Challenge,"  the "Foot Locker Three-Point Contest," with the Boston Celtics Paul Pierce defending his 2010 crown, and the four-team "Haier Shooting Stars" matchup.
TNT's exclusive coverage of the 2010 NBA All-Star Saturday Night was the second most-watched in the event's 25- year history, delivering a 3.1 U.S. rating, 3.6 cable rating, 3.6 million households and nearly 5.5 million total viewers.
The weekend is highlighted by the All Star Game itself, which tips off on Feb. 20 at 8:30 p.m. at Staples Center, whose tenants, the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, will be well-represented by defending champion Lakers Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, plus Griffin. The Eastern Conference will feature the Boston Celtics "Big Four" of Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo, as well as the Miami Heat's "Big Three" of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. 

The following is the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend schedule:

Thursday, February 17
8 p.m. ET NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com (Live from Hollywood, CA)
Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber
San Antonio Spurs @ Chicago Bulls
Announcers: Dick Stockton and Mike Fratello with Lewis Johnson
10:30 p.m. ET Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns
Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller with Marty Snider
Post-Game Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai (Live from Hollywood, CA)
Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber

Friday, February 18
9 - 11 p.m. ET T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam
Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Chris Webber with Craig Sager
Rookies: Eric Bledsoe (L.A. Clippers), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento), Derrick Favors (New Jersey), Landry Fields (New York), Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers), Wesley Johnson Minnesota), Greg Monroe (Detroit), Gary Neal (San Antonio) and John Wall (Washington)

Sophomores: DeJuan Blair (San Antonio), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), Stephen Curry (Golden State), Tyreke Evans (Sacramento), Taj Gibson (Chicago), Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City), Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee) and Wesley Matthews (Portland)

11- 11:30 p.m. ET Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai
Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith

Saturday, February 19
5 - 6 p.m. ET NBA All-Star Game at 60
Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kevin McHale and Chris Webber
6 - 7 p.m. ET Ultimate NBA All-Star Fantasy Draft
7 - 8 p.m. ET The Lost Dunks presented by GEICO
8 - 8:30 p.m. ET NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com
Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kevin McHale
8:30 - 11 p.m. ET NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm
Haier Shooting Stars
The Haier Shooting Stars competition features four teams comprised of current NBA players, WNBA players, and former NBA players who compete in a timed, one-round shooting event featuring six shooting locations of increasing difficulty.

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Mike Fratello with Cheryl Miller
Participants: NBA TV's Rick Fox, TBA; TNT's Steve Kerr, TBA; TNT's Kenny Smith, TBA; NBA TV's Steve Smith, TBA

Taco Bell Skills Challenge
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will highlight four NBA players running through a timed obstacle course that will include dribbling, passing and shooting stations.

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Mike Fratello with Cheryl Miller
Participants: Chris Paul (New Orleans) and four of the following players (based on a fan vote): Stephen Curry (Golden State), Baron Davis (L.A. Clippers), Tyreke Evans (Sacramento), Derek Fisher (L.A. Lakers), Tony Parker (San Antonio), Derrick Rose (Chicago), John Wall (Washington) and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City)

Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest will feature six of the NBA's top long distance shooters in a two-round competition.

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley with Cheryl Miller
Participants: TBA

Sprite Slam Dunk
The Sprite Slam Dunk will showcase four of the league's high-fliers in a two-round competition featuring some of the NBA's most athletic stars.

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley with Cheryl Miller
Participants: DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City) and JaVale McGee (Washington)

Sunday, February 20
7 - 9:30 a.m. ET / 6 - 8:30 a.m. PT NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm (Encore)

7 - 8:30 p.m. ET NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com
Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kevin McHale, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber

8:30 - 11 p.m. ET 2011 NBA All-Star Game presented by KIA Motors
Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Reggie Miller and Craig Sager
11 - 11:30 p.m. ET Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai
Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber
11:30 p.m. - 2 a.m. ET 2011 All-Star Game presented by KIA Motors (Encore)

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