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LeBron’s effect on ratings dramatic

Gucci Cocktail Party For Ffawn

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 16: Professional Basketball Player LeBron James attends the Gucci cocktail party for Ffawn at Gucci Fifth Avenue on September 16, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Michael Loccisano

The Sports Business Journal just released a report comparing this season’s local TV ratings for NBA teams to the ratings from last season, and one thing is clear: People like to watch LeBron James play basketball.

The Heat’s average rating is currently 5.4; that’s the third-highest average rating in the league (behind the Spurs and the Jazz, in case you were wondering), and represents a 118% ratings increase from the 09-10 season, the largest increase in the league. Meanwhile, the Cavs’ ratings have decreased by 53%, which is the largest decrease in the league. (The silver lining for Cleveland? The Cavaliers are still drawing a 4.07 average rating, which is the 7th-highest in the league.)

The Bulls, Clippers, and Timberwolves all also experienced significant ratings increases this year, although the Clippers still have the second-lowest average rating in the league. (The Nets, who draw an abysmal average rating of 0.29, are drawing the lowest ratings in the NBA.)

In terms of total households (ratings represent the percentage of households in a market watching a program, not the total number of viewers), the Lakers are the most-watched team in the league by far -- an average of 278,000 households tune in to every Laker game. To provide some perspective, the Thunder, Nets, Kings, Grizzlies, Bucks, and Bobcats draw a combined average of 107,000 viewers a game.