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Nearly 10 Million U.S. Viewers Watch LeBron’s ‘Decision’
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Nearly 10 Million U.S. Viewers Watch LeBron’s ‘Decision’

An average of 9.9 million people in the U.S. watched LeBron James choose his next basketball destination, according to data released by The Nielsen Company. At its peak, the ESPN broadcast was seen by 13.1 million viewers during the 9:15-9:30pm ET quarter hour, which included the moment that LeBron said he plans to take his basketball talents to the Miami Heat.

Local market rankings for the telecast were well represented by the cities who most coveted LeBron’s services. His former hometown Cleveland topped all other markets with a 26.0 local household rating, followed by nearby Columbus, OH, with a 14.2 rating. Miami–Ft. Lauderdale won the LeBron Sweepstakes, but placed third in the local rankings with a 12.8 rating. Chicago, whose Bulls were in the running until the very end, placed sixth (10.7 local household rating) , while a disappointed New York market placed seventh (10.4 local rating).

LEBRON JAMES AND ‘THE DECISION’ -TOP 10 LOCAL MARKETS
RANK MARKET RATING SHARE HOUSEHOLDS (000s)
1 Cleveland-Akron (Canton) 26.0 39 395
2 Columbus, OH 14.2 22 128
3 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 12.8 19 197
4 Washington, DC (Hagerstown) 11.9 20 277
5 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville) 11.0 17 122
6 Chicago 10.7 18 375
7 New York 10.4 17 777
8 Birmingham  9.4 13 70
9 Louisville 9.4 15 63
10 Dayton 9.3 14 45
Source: The Nielsen Company

Note: based on 9pm to 10:15pm ET telecast window on ESPN, 7/8/10

LeBron’s announcement was one of the more memorable televised news events featuring a prominent professional athlete. Most recently, Tiger Woods’ live public statement on February 19th, 2010 – his first since the flood of reports on his extramarital affairs – drew nearly 22 million viewers across 18 networks.