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YES ratings drop a precipitous 28 percent to worst in NBA

Jim Spanarkel and Ryan Ruocco of YES

The Nets had a small uptick —two percent— in ticket sales last season and word is that the turnstile number, people actually showing up, jumped by a thousand. But the team’s 20-win season, including a 1-27 stretch, took its toll on YES ratings. Once again, the Nets had the lowest TV ratings in the NBA.

In fact, reports Sports Business Journal,

Brooklyn Nets games on YES Network posted a 0.33 rating, the lowest for any NBA team since the 2010-11 season when the Nets on YES averaged a 0.31.

That means the Nets had their lowest ratings in Brooklyn. The 2010-11 season was their next-to-last in New Jersey. YES ratings have fallen every year since 2013-14, when the Nets traded for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. A 0.33 rating means the Nets were watched on average by one-third of one percent of the 7.4 million housesholds in the New York TV market.

The Nets ratings in fact dropped 28 percent. As bad as that sounds, it was by no means the worst drop in the league. Across the NBA, local TV ratings slumped. At least six teams —Spurs (!), Trail Blazers, Pistons, Heat, Mavericks and Magic— had drops of one third or more, with the Magic down more than 50 percent.

Overall, SBJ reports, the NBA’s local TV ratings never recovered from a slow start, falling 14 percent during the 2016-17 regular season. The Nets actually had a fast start. In the early weeks of the season, the Nets, powered by Jeremy LIn’s fan base, jumped. In the first two weeks of the season, the Nets’ ratings on YES are up 44 percent year-over-year. Then Lin went down, the team starting their dive and took the ratings with them.

Reasons for the overall drop vary, say experts, including a drop in cable viewing and mediocre to poor teams in the league’s biggest markets, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Who did well last season? The Warriors and Cavaliers had the highest ratings and the biggest gainers were the 76ers, Rockets, Wizards and Bucks, all of whom exceeded expectations ore we’re led by a rising star.

Next season, YES will likely have a resurgence, with its two-season long dispute with Comcast resolved. That cost them 900,000 households. The Nets and YES will also have a new contract starting next season, with a substantial boost in rights payments.

In terms of attendance at Barclays, the Nets finished with an average attendance of 15,429, up from 15,125 in 2015-16. That put them 28th in the NBA. The team had 10 sellouts out of 41 dates. Ironically, the Nets finished 19th in road attendance, at 17,755.

  • NBA regular season sees ratings drop - John Ourand & John Lombardo - Sports Business Journal