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Want stronger NBA ratings? Win games and hire LeBron James

November 21, 2008 |  2:15 pm

LeBron James

Nielsen Media Research reports that several NBA franchises are enjoying noticeably higher television ratings in their local markets than during last season. Not surprisingly, winning ways and star power are driving the stronger ratings.

The New Orleans Hornets, coming off of last year's strong showing, are the league leader with a 163% ratings jump. The Cleveland Cavaliers' 109% ratings jump undoubtedly was driven by LeBron James leading the team to an eight-game winning streak.

The Lakers, who play in the nation's second-largest media market and have Kobe Bryant, registered a respectable 14% gain. The New York Knicks, who play in the media market's Big Apple, showed a 17% gain over last season. And plays like this by LeBron keep the fans tuned in.

Top 10 local ratings for NBA teams during the ongoing season

Team           Average local household rating

San Antonio  6.6

Cleveland     6.2

Portland       5.0

Utah            4.8

L.A. Lakers  4.2

Detroit         4.1

Phoenix        4.0

Boston         3.4

Houston       3.2

Chicago        2.9

2008-09 average local rating vs. 2007-08 season

Team          Percentage change

New Orleans   163%

Cleveland     109%

Atlanta        97%

Portland       44%

Orlando        26%

New York       17%

L.A. Lakers    14%

Washington     12%

Philadelphia   10%

Memphis        10%

-- Greg Johnson

Photo: LeBron James during a game earlier this week against the New Jersey Nets. Credit: Jim McIsaac / Getty Images