Numbers Show How Massively LeBron James Leaving Cavs for Lakers Affected TV Ratings

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LeBron James is, by all accounts, the most popular basketball player in the world. And while basketball is a team sport, it’s often the individuals that drive people to watch the games.

James is evidence of that. According to a report, the Cleveland Cavaliers suffered a massive drop in TV ratings when James left the team prior to this season.

The Los Angeles Lakers, James’ new squad, subsequently saw an enormous boost to their TV ratings.

“Not surprisingly, the biggest ratings decline came in Cleveland where the departure of LeBron James from the Cavaliers caused Fox Sports Ohio ratings to drop 58 percent,” wrote John Ourand and John Lombardo of Sports Business Journal. “Conversely, James’ new team, the Los Angeles Lakers, posted a 31 percent ratings increase on Spectrum SportsNet — the team’s highest since 2013.”

While those numbers shouldn’t be too shocking, they certainly are big. That type of change in viewership is enormous, and can ultimately have a strong financial impact.

It also serves as a strong reminder that James is a wildly popular athlete. Wherever he goes, basketball fans will follow.

James is under contract with the Lakers for three more years, which means the organization will continue to see high numbers.

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Brady Klopfer is a basketball writer and editor based out of Los Angeles. His work can also be found at The Athletic, SB Nation, and Bballbreakdown.