Saturday, December 31, 2011

NBA season enjoys decent start over festive period

With the build-up to the new NBA season tainted by a bitter and extended lockout that threatened the very future and status of the sport in North America, there was more than a hint of nerves surrounding the opening fixtures at the weekend. Would basketball fans be left disillusioned by the bad feeling that characterised the lockout? Would NBA supporters look elsewhere for their sporting action fix over the long festive period? Or would they switch on their TVs or computers and watch NBA online just as before?

Happily for all those involved in the game, the answer to those two questions was an emphatic "no", with television ratings for the opening games up significantly from the figures last year at around this time. The five games played on Christmas day this year drew a total of 6.2 million viewers, compared to around 6 million in 2010.

With the clash between the LA Lakers and Chicago Bulls apparently earning its standing of being the third most-watched game during the regular season game ever to be aired on ABC, it looks likely that the NBA lockout has, if anything, only heightened the buzz and anticipation surrounding the happenings on court for basketball fans starved of game time action with plenty of viewers also tempted to bet on basketball.

Should the NBA want to prove, however, that it is keen to make amends to fans messed around by the circumstances surrounding the lockout in recent months, with supporters not always sympathetic to the reasons given for the deadlock, it'll have to ensure a high level of competition throughout the regular season, as franchises fight to prove themselves to their loyal fanbase. If that does happen, it'll no doubt be the spectators left standing as the winning party as the 2011/2012 season comes to an end, as a thrilling basketball season unfolds on court.

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