SBJ/Feb. 8-14, 2016/Media

Wins keep coming for Golden State as local TV ratings shoot for the stars

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The NBA’s power in California has shifted north, both on court and on TV.

The defending champion Golden State Warriors have seen their local TV ratings more than double this season compared with last year’s midpoint. With an 8.42 average rating on CSN Bay Area, the Warriors’ 120 percent spike in ratings is easily the largest increase in the league.

NBA TEAMS' MIDSEASON RSN RATINGS

AVG. RATING

TEAM RSN AVG. RATING (CHANGE*)
TOP 5
Cleveland Cavaliers FS Ohio 9.44 (+36%)
San Antonio Spurs FS Southwest 8.74 (+9%)
Golden State Warriors CSN Bay Area 8.42 (+120%)
Oklahoma City Thunder FS OKC 6.70 (+11%)
Miami Heat Sun Sports 4.42 (-11%)
BOTTOM 5
Philadelphia 76ers CSN Philadelphia 1.07 (+45%)
Charlotte Hornets FS Southeast 1.06 (-9%)
Washington Wizards CSN Mid-Atlantic 0.96 (-34%)
Denver Nuggets Altitude 0.93 (0%)
Brooklyn Nets YES Network 0.47 (-15%)

AVG. RATING CHANGE

TEAM RSN CHANGE* (AVG. RATING)
TOP 5
Golden State Warriors CSN Bay Area +120% (8.42)
Orlando Magic FS Florida +83% (1.37)
Philadelphia 76ers CSN Philadelphia +45% (1.07)
Cleveland Cavaliers FS Ohio +36% (9.44)
New York Knicks MSG +31% (2.17)
BOTTOM 5
Chicago Bulls CSN Chicago -29% (3.52)
Dallas Mavericks FS Southwest -29% (1.66)
Atlanta Hawks FS Southeast -33% (1.28)
New Orleans Pelicans FS New Orleans -33% (1.11)
Washington Wizards CSN Mid-Atlantic -34% (0.96)

AVG. AUDIENCE SIZE

TEAM RSN AVG. NO. OF HHs (CHANGE*)
TOP 5
Golden State Warriors CSN Bay Area 209,000 (+120%)
New York Knicks MSG 160,000 (+29%)
Cleveland Cavaliers FS Ohio 141,000 (+38%)
Chicago Bulls CSN Chicago 122,000 (-29%)
Los Angeles Lakers Time Warner Cable SportsNet 92,000 (-17%)
BOTTOM 5
Orlando Magic FS Florida 20,000 (+82%)
Milwaukee Bucks FS Wisconsin 17,000 (-15%)
Denver Nuggets Altitude 15,000 (+0%)
Charlotte Hornets FS Southeast 12,000 (-8%)
New Orleans Pelicans FS New Orleans 7,000 (-36%)
Meanwhile, about 400 miles south, the Los Angeles Lakers are once again posting historic lows on TV. Even with the showcase that is Kobe Bryant’s retirement tour this season, Lakers games on TWC SportsNet are averaging a 1.68 rating. That’s down 16 percent from last year’s midseason mark, a season that ended as the third-consecutive season with a record low for the Lakers.

Overall, as the NBA enters its All-Star break this weekend, the league’s local telecasts are up 6 percent year over year, according to Nielsen. Eleven teams have seen gains in their local ratings this season, while 15 have dropped. Denver Nuggets games on Altitude are flat with last year.

Information for Memphis, Utah and Toronto was not available. The ratings reflect broadcasts through late January.

Golden State’s average rating is high enough to rank third in the NBA, an impressive achievement for a big-market team. Three of the top four teams as measured by ratings play in small markets: Cleveland, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Additionally, with a league-best 209,000 households on average watching Warriors games locally this season, Golden State is far outpacing the New York Knicks for their games on MSG (160,000 households) and the Cleveland Cavaliers for their games on FS Ohio (141,000).

“It has been a three-year trend of going up, and then somebody lit a fuse on a rocket ship and it went wild,” said Ted Griggs, president of CSN Bay Area on the Warriors’ ratings growth. “This year has been extraordinary. We went out selling a big number, as we expected the Warriors to hit it, but they have far exceeded it.”

The Warriors on the court are making a run at breaking the Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 wins in a season (1995-96).

In Cleveland, meanwhile, the second season of LeBron James’ return to the Cavaliers is continuing to pay off for FS Ohio. Cavs games are averaging a league-best 9.44 rating at midseason, up 36 percent from last year. The San Antonio Spurs rank second leaguewide, averaging an 8.74 rating for their games on FS Southwest.

The Spurs traditionally have some of the NBA’s highest local TV ratings, including the league’s best mark last year.

“You can’t underestimate the long, sustaining success of this team,” said Lawrence Payne, executive vice president of corporate partnership, broadcasting, branding and content for the Spurs. “We have a great product, but as things change, we make sure we are constantly reserving a lot of assets in promoting the broadcasts.”

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