Wins keep coming for Golden State as local TV ratings shoot for the stars
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
|TEAM||RSN||AVG. RATING (CHANGE*)|
|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%)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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*)|
|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%)|
|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%)|
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.”