Warriors stay atop local television ratings
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).
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.