With two teams coming off rocky offseasons and another bringing its prodigal son back home, it’s interesting to note that at the midpoint of the 2014-15 season, local NBA ratings in three markets have risen by huge leaps and bounds. In Milwaukee where the team has new owners and a new coach, ratings for the Bucks on Fox Sports Wisconsin have risen by a whopping 324% to an average rating of 2.2 per game. For Cleveland where LeBron James’ return has energized the Cavs’ fanbase, ratings on Fox Sports Ohio have increased by 150% to an average 7.29 for each game. And in Atlanta, the Hawks have the best record in the Eastern Conference, ratings are up on SportSouth by 71% from last season.

In Cleveland, the ratings increase was expected after James announced he was returning to the city where he began his NBA career.

As for Atlanta and Milwaukee, the ratings spikes could be considered surprises as neither team has a superstar or is a star-dominated squad. In addition, neither the Bucks nor the Hawks have had many national appearances on ABC, ESPN or TNT, in fact Atlanta has been shown on ESPN twice while it has not been on TNT. As for the Bucks, all of their games have been aired locally which means Fox Sports Wisconsin has been celebrating the increases all by itself.

At midseason, San Antonio remains on top of all local NBA markets averaging an 8.08 rating per game, an increase of 12% from last season. Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Miami and Chicago round out the top five. In fact, the Bulls ratings are up 62% just behind Milwaukee, Cleveland and Atlanta for biggest ratings increases thus far.

As for the lowest ratings, the Brooklyn Nets on YES Network bring up the rear with a 0.55 average and that’s down 29% from last season!

In Los Angeles, the Lakers have fallen on hard times and their ratings are down to an average of 2.01 rating on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and are on pace to be the worst cable regional sports network rating in the team’s history and by the way, that was set last year. But the Lakers can take solace that their ratings are better than the Clipppers. Their ratings are fifth-worst in the league averaging 1.13 on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.

So while some teams are experiencing a renaissance with their fans, others are suffering.

[Sports Business Journal]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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