TNT and ESPN have seen a drop in their nationally televised games over the first half of the NBA season, and according to a recent article by the Sports Business Journal, regional networks are also struggling this season.
If you look market to market, 15 of the NBA’s 28 regional networks are actually up a bit from last year. However, the drop in the 13 other markets bring down local viewing by an average of 10%. The biggest drop, to the surprise of no one, came in Cleveland. Fox Sports Ohio’s Cavs ratings are down a remarkable 56% from last year. Chicago, the nation’s #3 television market, has seen a 36% dip in ratings for Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago this season.
These declining numbers come following an NFL season that saw a return to form across the board leading up to a disappointing Super Bowl. In recent years, it seemed while football interest was dipping, NBA viewership was on the rise – which doesn’t appear to be the case for the 2018-2019 campaign.