The Oklahoma City Thunder has defended its title as the NBA’s local TV ratings champion. The Thunder, which first won the title last year, averaged a 8.7 rating for its 70 games on Fox Sports Oklahoma to edge the San Antonio Spurs, which had a 7.5 average on Fox Sports Southwest, according to ratings supplied by FSOK spokesman Ramon Alvarez. The Thunder averaged an 8.65 last season.
Rounding out the top five were the Miami Heat, 6.9 on Sun Sports; Indiana Pacers, 4.2 on Fox Sports Midwest; and Portland Trail Blazers, 4.1 on CSN Northwest.
The Thunder earned double-digit ratings (10.0 or higher) on 17 FSOK telecasts, topped by a 12.8 for the Portland game on Dec. 31. The Thunder’s highest rating this past season was a 18.7 for the Miami Heat game Feb. 20 on TNT.
•ESPN will televise an NFL Wild Card playoff game during the 2014 season, its first NFL playoff game in the company’s 35-year history. ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters will call the game, as well as the Pro Bowl.
•NBC will carry its first NFL divisional playoff game next season. The network will air three postseason games — a Wild Card game, a division game and Super Bowl XLIX.
•Veteran pitcher Ryan Dempster has joined the MLB Network as a studio analyst.