After years of getting few, if any, national TV games, the Nets proved last season that they can attract a national audience ... even without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
In a Hoopshype survey of national TV ratings in 2019-20, Nets had the 12th highest ratings for games broadcast on ESPN and TNT. That’s out of the 27 teams that appeared on the two networks. The Nets also experienced the fourth biggest annual ratings jump (42.04 percent). Moreover, the Nets-Blazers “bubble” game, the 134-133 thriller won by Portland, was the most-watched final regular season game in 11 years.
Specifically, here are the Nets regular season ratings and audience numbers as compiled by Hoopshype...
- Average audience: 1.19 million (44.34 percent more than in 2018-19)
- Average rating: 0.77 (42.04 percent more than in 2018-19)
The Nets numbers tailed off dramatically in the post-season sweep by the Raptors, compared with their 2019 playoffs vs. the 76ers. Of course, the NBA’s playoff ratings took a hit across the board with games being played in August through October and without fans. Here’s the final playoff numbers...
- Average audience: 0.82 million (59.87 percent less than in 2018-19)
- Average rating: 0.63 (59.98 percent less than in 2018-19)
The Nets biggest regular season audience was 1.79 million (1.04 rating) for the Celtics game on November 27, 2019 at TD Garden that aired on ESPN. It had been billed as Kyrie Irving’s return to Boston, but the Nets guard was out with a shoulder injury that ultimately resulted in him missing all but 20 games.
After that, not surprisingly, was the Nets’ loss to the LeBron James-led Lakers on January 23 at Barclays Center, which garnered an audience of 1.63 million (1.04 rating) on TNT. The game was also a Nets loss.
The Nets-Blazers game in Orlando drew 1.52 million (0.93 rating) on TNT.
Overall, the Nets appeared on ESPN and TNT 14 times, 10 regular season and four playoff games. The worst ratings were for Games 2 and 3 of the playoffs vs. Toronto. Both drew fewer than 300,000 viewers.
The Nets 42 percent jump in regular season ratings was topped only by the Clippers with a 72.8 percent increase; the Grizzlies at 50.4 percent and the Mavericks at 42.6. Overall, the Lakers, Bucks, Clippers and, surprisingly, the Warriors topped the national TV ratings.
In the Atlantic Division, only the Nets and Raptors (4.4 percent) drew more than they had in 2018-19. The the 76ers were down 15.7 percent; Celtics 22.9 percent and the Knicks a whopping, league-worst 69 percent. The Knicks also finished 27th and last in nationally televised regular season ratings with an average rating of 0.20, about one-quarter of the Nets 0.77. The Knicks in fact have seen dramatic drops across the board in TV ratings, both national and local. In the past four years, ratings for Knicks games broadcast locally on MSG have seen a 57 percent decrease.
- Ranking NBA teams by their TV ratings - Hoopshype