Jordan could rally NBA ratings


The outlook for NBA TV ratings this season brightened considerably as former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan made his long-rumored comeback official on Tuesday.

In a prepared statement, the 38-year-old Jordan spoke of looking forward to working with the players on the Washington Wizards, saying, "The best way to teach young players is to be on the court with them."

The National Basketball Association is looking forward to any improvement in broadcast and cable network ratings that could lend the league leverage in the current negotiations with NBC and Turner Broadcasting. The current four-year, $10.6 billion package with NBC and Turner expires at the end of the 2001-02 season, and NBC's NBA ratings have steadily slipped over the term of that deal to a 2.9 average for regular season games last season.

NBA Commissioner David Stern sought to put Jordan's unretirement in the context of current events, saying, "In these difficult times, we can all use a little more joy in our lives."

Jordan's regular season return in a game against the New York Knicks in November will be carried on TNT.
- Richard Tedesco