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Ratings Climb For NBA Play-In Tournament

The Play-In Tournament has been a ratings success so far.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: AP

The NBA Play-In Tournament might be here to stay, and ratings are a big reason why. 

The first portion of the league’s inaugural Play-in Tournament, Wizards versus Celtics, averaged a 1.5 rating and 2.50 million viewers on TNT. That represents the largest NBA audience on any network since Nets-Warriors on ABC February 13 (2.56 million viewers). The game was TNT’s most-watched contest since Opening Night, excluding the 2021 All-Star Game.

The appetizer between the Hornets and Pacers averaged a 0.8 rating and 1.39 million viewers. The Pacers blowout outdrew every TNT game since Nets-Lakers on February 18 (1.94 Million viewers). The play-in doubleheader averaged 2 million viewers total. A number that outperformed TNT’s regular-season average by 60%.  

Speaking of the regular season. Extending the contests into May had a positive effect on the TV numbers. Ratings for games in May were 19% higher than April games. April viewership was up just 12% across March, likely due to the return of the NCAA Tournament.

The league made some progress on last year’s low regular season ratings once the NBA returned to the Orlando “bubble.” Games on ABC, ESPN, and TNT averaged 1.34 million viewers. A 17% drop from last year’s pre-hiatus average (1.62 million viewers). When comparing to last year’s “bubble” games it was a net positive. Orlando action averaged 1.2 million viewers during the eight-game restart schedule the NBA put together before opening the playoffs

NBA executives can breathe a little sigh of relief that this season’s TV ratings are in line with the rest of the industry. Primetime NBA games are down 13%, and the rest of primetime television is down 14%. The league is hoping fans returning to arenas and a more normal calendar can boost playoff ratings way up as the country tries to emerge out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sports Radio News

670 The Score Hosts Congratulate Mike Mulligan on Award From Loyola Chicago

“They’re giving me an award for correctly picking the Super Bowl on September 8th,” Mulligan joked.

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670 The Score morning host Mike Mulligan is being awarded the Father Finnegan Memorial Award from Loyola University Chicago this weekend, and some of his colleagues congratulated him on the air Friday morning.

The award is given “in recognition of outstanding humanitarianism and service to youth through athletics”. Mulligan — a 1984 graduate of Loyola University Chicago — will receive the award Saturday during the Loyola Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony during a game against George Mason.

“Tremendous award,” co-host David Haugh said. “Proud moment for the show. Proud moment for you family.”

“They’re giving me an award for correctly picking the Super Bowl on September 8th,” Mulligan joked.

“That is fantastic,” Laurence Holmes said, while his co-host, Dan Bernstein, continued to say “wow”. “Congratulations. You shouldn’t be embarrassed. You should be proud.”

“I’m being celebrated for being old,” Mully joked.

“That’s not what that award says,” countered Holmes. “It says something completely different.”

The Mully & Haugh host eventually admitted he was appreciative of the award bestowed upon him by his alma mater.

“It’s a good thing. I’m very moved by it. Sister Jean will be there,” Mully said. “She has a book coming out with — I think — Seth Davis.”

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Sports Radio News

Colin Cowherd: Tony Romo Regressing Because He Loves Golf

“I’ve always felt like Tony Romo is one of those guys — and we all have somebody in our social circle like this — he got the golf bug. He’s had it for 15 years.

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The performance of CBS Sports NFL analyst Tony Romo has been a hot-button topic in sports media circles, especially after a widely-regarded lackluster performance during the AFC Championship Game. Colin Cowherd believes he knows why Romo has regressed.

During an episode of The Colin Cowherd Podcast, the sports radio host claimed golf is the reason behind Romo’s regression.

“Romo wants to be on the Tour. He literally wants to be on the Tour,” Cowherd said. “And what’s the first thing Aaron Rodgers does in the off-season? He goes and golfs, he loves it. Both, by the way, great golfers, especially Romo. But I’ve always felt like Tony Romo is one of those guys — and we all have somebody in our social circle like this — he got the golf bug. He’s had it for 15 years.

“Tony wants to be on the PGA Tour — but he likes the paycheck from CBS.”

Cowherd also added he hasn’t hired potential employees in the past if they told him they loved golf during the interview process, saying he has a theory that as men age they “get addicted to golf”.

“They’re on PGATour.com, they’re putting in the backyard, they’re thinking about it at work, they’re scheduling a trip to Scotland and they lose sight of their other job,” Cowherd said.

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Sports Radio News

ESPN Radio Adds Lakers Games As LeBron James Nears Scoring Record

“As of Friday, February 3, LeBron James is 63 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 career points.”

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The NBA’s all-time scoring record has stood for a long time. Kareem Abdul-Jabar, the current record holder, retired in 1989. LeBron James is on the verge of overtaking him though, and ESPN Radio wants to make sure it is part of history when it happens.

ESPN Radio has added two upcoming Lakers games to its schedule. The network will carry the national feeds of games on February 7 and 9. The first game is against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The second is against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Both games will be played in Los Angeles with a 9:30 PM Eastern tip. Marc Kestecher and Vince Carter will be on the call for both games.

As of Friday, February 3, LeBron James is 63 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 career points.

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