In high-definition TV land, pro basketball and hockey championships show strong ratings

By David Bauder, AP
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Basketball, hockey championships gain TV viewers

NEW YORK — Television viewership is up for the championship rounds of professional basketball and hockey. It may not be a coincidence that they’re available on high-definition TV in a majority of American homes this year for the first time.

The Nielsen Co. says the first two games of the NBA championship between the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics averaged nearly 15 million viewers. That’s the best series opening in the ratings in six years.

The Stanley Cup finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers was up 14 percent in the ratings compared to last year’s Detroit-Pittsburgh matchup.

Experts say part of the reason may be that 52 percent of American homes are equipped with HDTV this year and are using it. Only two years ago, fewer than one in five homes had high-def.

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