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Cancelled NBA season could mean TV ratings dip

Fair goers discuss at the NBA stand during the International Sports convention for Television and New Media on October 10, 2011 in Monaco.

Jeremy Hobson: It's looking more likely that there won't be a professional basketball season this year. Talks between NBA players and owners fell apart this week. And the impasse has left television networks scrambling to fill holes in their schedules to avoid losing millions of dollars in advertising revenue.

Marketplace's Amy Scott reports.


Amy Scott: Sports fans, get ready for a lot of reruns.

Brad Adgate is senior vice president of research at Horizon Media. He says without live NBA games, regional sports networks like Comcast and Fox Sports will play a lot more talk shows and classic games from years past.

Brad Adgate: Their ratings are going to plummet. And you can see advertisers may pull out and decide to put their local dollars someplace else.

ESPN can fall back on other live sports -- like college basketball -- but TNT also stands to lose out. For now, it's plugged holes left by the NBA with episodes of C.S.I: New York.

But Adgate says that's not likely to please advertisers. Basketball attracts a lucrative and hard to reach audience of young men.

Adgate: These are the people who tend to watch less television. They're out playing all these video games that just came out.

One winner could be ice hockey. Adgate says NBA advertisers could move some of their money to the NHL.

I'm Amy Scott for Marketplace.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.
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