Letting the "Air" out of the NBA

In November 1997, Turner Broadcasting and NBC signed new television deals with the NBA worth in excess of $2.6 billion for a four year commitment. Thus far, they've been rewarded with the lockout and the retirement of Michael Jordan. Ouch. When Jordan retired in 1994 to play baseball, NBC's ratings dropped 12%. While network executives are praying they've invested in a league that can overcome the loss of just one player, a decline in ratings is inevitable and fans have indicated they might forsake the NBA for other alternatives, like infomercials and Saved By the Bell reruns.

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