This year’s NBA Playoffs have been just as exciting as they have been lucrative. And even though the potential dream matchup between Kobe and Lebron is looking bleak, all parties involved shouldn’t be upset at all. Thanks to long series, and great matchups, the ratings through 40 combined games on TNT and ESPN are up over 18% over 2008. Via Sports Business Daily….

TNT is averaging 4.310 million viewers through 40 NBA Playoffs telecasts through Sunday, up 18.7% from 3.631 million viewers for 39 telecasts at the same point in ’08. Meanwhile, ESPN’s 16 postseason telecasts have averaged 4.049 million viewers, up 10.1% from 3.679 million viewers for 18 telecasts at the same point last year. ESPN’s 5.7 cable rating and 7.886 million viewers for Thursday’s Nuggets-Lakers Western Conference Final Game Two also marked the net’s second-most viewed basketball game ever. For the week of May 18-24, the five NBA Playoffs telecasts between TNT and ESPN marked the five most-viewed telecasts on all of cable.

This level of viewership hasn’t been approached by the NBA in quite some time, and it’s great to see the league slowly building it’s ratings back up. Advertisers must be loving the long series, and with so many young stars in the game, it will only bring in more dollars to the networks.

TNT, ESPN Both Seeing Double-Digit Aud Increases For NBA Playoffs (Sports Business Daily – $)

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