SBD/February 18, 2014/Media

Struggles Of Traditionally Strong NBA Teams Affecting Audience Among TV Partners

The on-court struggles of traditionally strong NBA clubs -- including the Knicks, Bulls, Celtics and Lakers -- have hampered audiences among NBA TV partners. Perhaps most affected by the struggles has been ABC, which usually features big-market clubs in its Christmas Day and subsequent Sunday afternoon telecasts. ABC's rating through six NBA telecasts is down 29%, while viewership is down 31%. TNT also is seeing a decline in its audience, though not as pronounced as ABC. TNT's 1.3 rating is down slightly from a 1.4, while its 2.0 million viewers are down from 2.1 million. ESPN is relatively flat to date for its NBA telecasts, but did see its most-viewed Christmas tripleheader on record. NBA TV viewership is off a bit, but the rating is flat.

NBA REGULAR-SEASON AUDIENCE TO DATE
NET
GAMES
RATING
% +/-
VIEWERS (000)
% +/-
GAMES ('12-13)
ABC
6
2.7
-28.9%
4,500
-30.8%
6
TNT
30
1.3
-7.1%
1,991
-3.5%
30
ESPN
47
1.2
0.0%
1,811
-1.3%
46
NBA TV
63
0.2
0.0%
314
-5.4%
62


TOP CABLE GAMES
: TNT's Bulls-Heat from opening night remains the most-viewed cable TV game for the '13-14 season to date with a 3.3 rating and 5.4 million viewers. That audience also marked the net's best viewership on record for an opening night game. ESPN's Thunder-Heat telecast on Jan. 29 is the second-best audience to date with 3.9 million viewers. The Heat have been involved in six of the top 10 most-viewed cable games thus far. NBA TV also set a superlative with the Heat. The Dec. 10 Heat-Pacers game -- part of NBA TV's Fan Night initiative -- marked the net's most-viewed telecast on record (920,000 viewers). The second half schedule also gives the NBA's TV partners some hope, as TNT and ABC will feature the Heat four times, while ESPN gets the Heat three times.

MOST-VIEWED NBA REGULAR-SEASON GAMES ON CABLE TV FOR '13-14 SEASON TO DATE
DATE
NETWORK
TEAMS
START
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
10/29
TNT
Bulls-Heat
8:09pm
3.3
5,373
1/29
ESPN
Thunder-Heat
6:59pm
2.4
3,864
10/29
TNT
Clippers-Lakers
10:46pm
2.4
3,571
12/25
ESPN
Rockets-Spurs
8:00pm
2.0
3,395
1/9
TNT
Heat-Knicks
8:16pm
2.0
3,144
1/23
TNT
Lakers-Heat
8:00pm
1.7
2,968
12/25
ESPN
Bulls-Nets
11:59am
1.6
2,779
12/18
ESPN
Pacers-Heat
6:58pm
2.0
2,775
12/25
ESPN
Clippers-Warriors
10:34pm
1.8
2,730
2/1
ESPN
Heat-Knicks
9:02pm
1.7
2,645
           

MARKET WATCH: Also see SportsBusiness Journal’s look at the highest- and lowest-rated RSNs for NBA local telecasts.

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Related Topics:

NBA, Media, ESPN, TBS/TNT, ABC

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