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Volume 21 No. 34

Media

Fox has signed a three-year deal with the NBA to televise the league’s new Jr. NBA World Championship event that will debut this summer.

 

The inaugural NBA-run event for elite 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls teams is set for Aug. 7-12 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports near Orlando.

Terms of the agreement call for Fox Sports to air live 16 games of the tournament across Fox and FS1 that includes the boys and girls U.S. and international championship games. Fox will air 10 hours of live programming of the championship games on Aug. 11 and 12. Other U.S. and international pool play and elimination games will air on FS1. All the games will be streamed on the Fox Sports app.

Fox paid the NBA an undisclosed rights fee for the tournament.

The Jr. NBA World Championship features both boys and girls divisions, each comprising eight U.S. and eight international teams, separated into U.S. and international brackets that include round-robin and single-elimination competition.

The winning boys and girls teams from eight new U.S. regional tournaments (Central, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast and West), as well as teams representing eight international regions (Africa and Middle East, Asia Pacific, Canada, China, Europe, India, Mexico and South America), will compete in the Jr. NBA World Championship.

“What we are happy about is that Fox shares our passion for not only youth basketball, but for the unique aspects of the tournament,” said Kathy Behrens, NBA president of social responsibility and player programs. “We have a long-term commitment to the tournament.”

The creation of the tournament comes as part of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s effort to get the league more involved at the elite youth basketball level to grow the game and improve the experience for both players and coaches.

The Golden State Warriors posted the NBA’s highest local TV ratings for a third consecutive season, pacing a league that rebounded from a double-digit local ratings decline last season.

 

Warriors games on NBC Sports Bay Area averaged an 8.36 rating, a figure that is down 4 percent from last season. Cleveland Cavaliers games on FS Ohio placed second with a 7.98 rating (up 8 percent), followed by Oklahoma City Thunder games on FS Oklahoma with a 7.05 rating (up 7 percent).

Golden State averaged an 8.36 rating this season on NBC Sports Bay Area.
Photo: nbae / getty images

Overall, the NBA’s local television ratings rose 3 percent during the 2017-18 season, reversing last season’s 14 percent local ratings slide.

The jump mirrors the NBA’s national TV partners that saw viewership rise 8 percent to a combined average of 1.28 million viewers, the best since the 2013-14 season. Viewership on ABC was up 17 percent from last year, with TNT up 13 percent, ESPN up 4 percent and NBA TV up 1 percent.

SportsBusiness Journal analyzed ratings data for 28 teams across the NBA. Information for Memphis and Utah was not available. Of the 28 teams, 10 were down, 17 were up and one was flat.

The NBA’s best ratings story is in Minnesota where the Timberwolves, making their first playoff appearance since 2004, saw their ratings on FS North jump 76 percent, the league’s highest jump. The Boston Celtics, bolstered by its trade for All-Star Kyrie Irving, saw a 44 percent ratings increase.

Milwaukee Bucks games on FS Wisconsin and Wizards games on NBC Sports Washington posted their highest TV ratings in more than 12 years.

The 28-54 Brooklyn Nets had the lowest local rating for the fourth consecutive season with a 0.38 rating on the YES Network.

The Atlanta Hawks, with the Eastern Conference-worst record of 24-58, saw the biggest percentage ratings drop of 53 percent, the team’s lowest mark since the 2006-07 season.

Research director David Broughton and SportsBusiness Daily assistant managing editor Austin Karp contributed to this report.

The NHL has a new local TV ratings king. It looks a lot like the league’s old local TV ratings king.

 

After a two-year respite, Pittsburgh Penguins games on AT&T Pittsburgh are the league’s highest again, as the team’s 5.81 rating beat out Buffalo Sabres games on MSG (4.62 rating). The Sabres had been the NHL’s top-rated club the previous two seasons but finished this season with the NHL’s worst record and registered a 26 percent decrease from last year.

Pittsburgh was back in familiar territory, averaging the largest RSN rating for the NHL’s regular season.
Photo: getty images

The Penguins were tops for six straight years before that. Penguins ratings are down 2 percent this year, which marked the team’s lowest-rated season since 2006-07.

The Penguins’ ratings drop was typical for a league that saw an overall 10 percent local drop. SportsBusiness Journal analyzed ratings data from 22 of the NHL’s 23 U.S.-based clubs; information on Carolina was not available. Overall, 13 of those 22 teams monitored posted ratings drops from last season; nine saw an increase.

The Vegas Golden Knights had a 1.87 rating on AT&T Rocky Mountain in the team’s inaugural season.

The NHL’s best local TV ratings news came in Nashville, riding the wave of the Predators’ run to the Stanley Cup Final last season. The Predators saw a 163 percent increase year-over-year, with a 2.1 rating on FS Tennessee. Tampa Bay Lightning games on FS Sun saw an increase of 19 percent, the team’s fourth straight year of a local TV ratings increase.

The Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings both hit low-water marks for NBC Sports Chicago and FS Detroit. This season marked the Blackhawks’ lowest-rated season since 2008-09 when the team had a 1.06 rating. The Red Wings’ 1.51 rating on FS Detroit was the team’s lowest in at least 12 seasons and the fifth straight year the team has posted declining ratings.

Research director David Broughton contributed to this report.