NBA ratings decline bad for OKC
The NBA Finals’ television ratings continue to plunge. A 6.4 rating for Game 3, which is down 30 percent from 2006’s Game 3. That number basically translate into this: 6.4 percent of American homes watched the Spurs-Cavaliers.
And that’s bad news for Oklahoma City.
Here’s why. When the NBA comes to town, OKC will be a marginal market. To flourish, several factors must develop. Some of which are up to us: great fan support, great corporate support. On top of that, a little luck, which already is starting to happen with the draft lottery and the Sonics.
And still, Oklahoma City would be behind the curve, just like San Antonio, Salt Lake City and other smaller markets. OKC’s local television revenue will not be strong. Some franchises, like the Knickerbockers, make as much from local broadcasting rights as they do from the network share.
Others do not. Franchises like the Hornets, Spurs and Grizzlies make only marginal money from local broadcasting. They need all they can get from the network pot.
The current ABC contract is worth about $400 million a year; spread over 30 teams, that’s $13.3 million a year. A franchise in Oklahoma City could use more. A more lucrative contract means more for each franchise, which is not that big a deal in New York City but means everything in Oklahoma City.
And why would ABC, or any other network, keeping paying more if the viewership keeps going down. Of course, the demographics of sport are key, and not as many people are TiVO’ing ballgames, since you don’t want to watch at your leisure.
But still, the declining viewership is bad news for the NBA, but particularly to the small markets.
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