The interest seemed so high that a standing-room only crowd soon emerged just before tipoff. They cheered loudly over every highlight reel. They even booed during poor play.
The Lakers’ summer league team has garnered plenty of interest among the partisan fans that made the quick trip to Las Vegas. The interest has also translated on the team’s telecast. Time Warner Cable SportsNet reported sparking its highest-rated summer league game in the team’s opener against Minnesota on Friday at Thomas & MAck Center with a 1.45 Nielsen rating. The Lakers boasted similarly inspiring numbers for their game against Philadelphia on Saturday (1.23) and against New York on Monday (1.29). It seems likely the Lakers will attract similar interest when they play the Dallas Mavericks at 5:30 p.m. PDT on Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center as an 11th seed.
This represents a dose of good news for the network after experiencing relatively low ratings amid the Lakers finishing with their worst record in L.A. franchise history in consecutive seasons. TWC SportsNet averaged a 1.55 Nielsen rating this season, marking a decline from the average household ratings for televised games in 2013-14 (2.11) and 2012-13 (4.63). Although those numbers still better fare than the Lakers’ Summer League telecasts, it is not considered an apples-to-apples comparisons since summer league games typically draw less interest than the NBA regular season.
But the Lakers presumably experienced a boost because of the implications surrounding their summer league team. After all, the Lakers’ average household ratings for their summer league coverage were substantially lower in 2013 (.28) and 2014 (.27).