NBA ratings on local regional sports networks are down 15% comparable to the same time last season. As of the first week of February, at least 20 teams were seeing lower or flat ratings in 2016-17. And like the NHL, it appears that the ratings which had suffered a downturn due to the presidential election are now on a bounce upward and should recover by the end of the season.

Most of the teams’ ratings data were available except for Memphis, Utah and Toronto.

The biggest local ratings drops were in Dallas (-53%) and Orlando (-50%) where both teams are in the midst of below .500 play.

The San Antonio Spurs whose ratings are normally steady, have dropped 43% thus far. Even with that drop their average per game rating of 5.11 ranks fourth amongst the NBA. The Chicago Bulls’ ratings are tanking by 35% and this follows 2015-16 when they were off by an astounding 37%.

The defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers are down 28%, Boston Celtics off 15%, and the Washington Wizards are in the midst of a 15% ratings downturn.

Golden State is again at the top of the heap with an average rating of 8.54 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. The Cavs on Fox Sports Ohio are second with a 7.0 and the Oklahoma City Thunder airing on Fox Sports Oklahoma are third with a 6.18 rating.

But there are teams seeing improvement this season. The Philadelphia 76ers are seeing the biggest ratings jump of 80% for Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia resulting in a 1.93 average. The Rockets and Pelicans are experiencing increases of over 20%.

Overall, there are several basketball-centric markets that are suffering lower ratings, but as mentioned earlier, it’s hoped by media executives that the numbers will go up and recover to similar levels as last season. The NBA got off to a slow start this season, but teams are optimistic that they’ll see some better ratings before the season ends.

[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.