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Volume 21 No. 2
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Thunderous finish among NBA local television ratings

The Oklahoma City Thunder finished the 2012-13 NBA season with the league’s highest average local TV rating. The Thunder’s 8.65 average on FS Oklahoma marks an astonishing 659 percent increase from the team’s 2008-09 inaugural season in Oklahoma City.

The team with the league’s best record, the Miami Heat, posted the second-highest average rating this past season. Heat games averaged a 7.07 rating on Sun Sports, a 43 percent increase from Miami’s mark for the 2010-11 campaign, which was the last full NBA season prior to this year’s.

Teams played a 66-game schedule last year in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.
This year also marks the third consecutive year the Heat has registered a double-digit ratings increase. Only two other teams can tout that kind of increase for three straight years: the Golden State Warriors (on CSN Bay Area) and the Brooklyn Nets (on YES Network).

The Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Wizards are on the other side of the local ratings chart. The Blazers (on CSN Portland) and Wizards (on CSN Mid-Atlantic) have seen three consecutive years of rating declines. Neither team made the playoffs this season.

Additionally, the Boston Celtics’ 2.92 average rating this year is the team’s worst local TV performance since 2006-07.

The Charlotte Bobcats are mired at the bottom of the league’s local TV numbers, with a 0.55 average rating and an average of 6,000 homes watching on SportSouth.

In Houston, ratings for Rockets games were similarly disappointing for the team’s first season on CSN Houston. The team’s 1.05 average rating was down 57 percent from last year, when its games were carried on FS Southwest.

NBA teams’ RSN ratings

Top 5
Team RSN Avg. rating (Change*)
Oklahoma City FS Oklahoma 8.65 (+200%)
Miami Sun Sports 7.07 (+43%)
San Antonio FS Southwest 6.44 (-37%)
L.A. Lakers TWC Sports 4.64 (-3%)
Utah Root Sports 4.40 (-21%)
Bottom 5
Houston CSN Houston 1.05 (-57%)
Orlando FS Florida 0.99 (-55%)
Brooklyn YES 0.96 (+210%)
Washington CSN Mid-Atlantic 0.78 (-32%)
Charlotte SportSouth 0.55 (-46%)
Top 5
Team RSN Change in households watching*
Brooklyn YES +210% (0.96)
Oklahoma City FS Oklahoma +200% (8.65)
Golden State CSN Bay Area +92% (2.80)
New York MSG +71% (3.12)
L.A. Clippers Prime Ticket +55% (1.56)
Bottom 5
Boston CSN New England -38% (2.92)
Charlotte SportSouth -46% (0.55)
Orlando FS Florida -55% (0.99)
Houston CSN Houston -57% (1.05)
Phoenix FS Arizona -68% (1.20)
Top 5
Team RSN Avg. No. of households (Change*)
L.A. Lakers TWC Sports 260,600 (-10,400)
New York MSG 230,000 (+93,000)
Miami Sun Sports 115,000 (+37,000)
Chicago CSN Chicago 112,000 (-45,000)
L.A. Clippers Prime Ticket 88,000 (+31,000)
Bottom 5
Phoenix FS Arizona 22,000 (-48,000)
Washington CSN Mid-Atlantic 18,000 (-9,000)
Orlando FS Florida 14,000 (-18,000)
Milwaukee FS Wisconsin 13,000 (0)
Charlotte SportSouth 6,000 (-6,000)

Note: Comparable data was not available for Memphis (SportSouth), New Orleans (FS New Orleans), Sacramento (CSN California) and Toronto (Sportsnet). * Change compared to the same time period in the 2010-11 season, the NBA’s most recent 82-game season. The lockout-shortened 2011- 12 season did not begin until December.

Source: Nielsen