Fan Rankings
Franchise Values
Naming Rights
ESPN Auctions
Friday, December 13
Updated: July 22, 5:57 PM ET
'King' James proves a ratings bonanza for ESPN2

By Darren Rovell

LeBron James' performance on Thursday night helped his St. Vincent-St. Mary team beat the No. 1 team in the nation, but it also helped ESPN2 achieve its highest rating in almost two years.

The network garnered a 1.97 rating, which is equivalent to about 1.67 million homes.

"Obviously thanks to LeBron, it attracted a lot of attention," said Dave Nagle, a spokesman for ESPN. Nagle said it was "too early to say" if future St. Vincent-St. Mary's games will be broadcast by the network.

It was the highest rating since ESPN2's broadcast of RPM2Night on Feb. 18, 2001 -- the day Dale Earnhardt was killed on the final lap of the Daytona 500 -- when the network received a 2.15 rating, which was equivalent to 1.61 million homes.

The 17-year old James, who is the projected No. 1 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, dazzled the crowd of 11,523 at Cleveland State University and many watching the game on television with no-look passes and monster dunks. James scored 31 points, had 13 rebounds and six assists as his No. 23-ranked team defeated Oak Hill Academy 65-45.

Nagle said the broadcast was the third highest rated basketball game in ESPN2's history. Two North Carolina-Duke games drew a 3.0 and a 2.9 rating. It was the first time ESPN broadcast a high school game in 13 years.

Ten St. Vincent-St. Mary games are being showed on Pay-Per-View on Time Warner in Northeast Ohio. The pay-per-view costs $7.95 and is available in 600,000 homes in 14 counties.

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for, can be reached at

 More from ESPN...
LeBron James lives up to the hype
LeBron James didn't ...

Rovell: LeBron's no cash cow
LeBron James has hardly been ...

 Sports Biz's Darren Rovell looks at the drawing power of LeBron James and the marketing of Mark Cuban.
Standard | Cable Modem

 ESPN Tools
Email story
Most sent
Print story
Daily email