Oklahoma City Thunder television ratings are skyrocketing during the playoffs. And with a possible Western Conference finals matchup with the Dallas Mavericks on the horizon, they could continue to grow.
TNT's telecast of Game 5 of the Thunder-Memphis Grizzlies series Wednesday night set a Thunder record with a 24.0 rating (percentage of TV households) in the Oklahoma City television market. It broke the record of 21.4 for Game 6 of the Thunder-Los Angeles Lakers series last year, which aired on two networks (TNT, 13.9, and Fox Sports Oklahoma, 7.5).
To put it in perspective, a 24.0 rating was better than five University of Oklahoma football telecasts this past season. OU football telecasts averaged 28.9 for 13 games, topped by a 42.4 for ABC's telecast of the Bedlam game Nov. 27 at Oklahoma State.
Despite the Thunder's 99-72 blowout victory, TNT's Wednesday night telecast also fared well nationally with a 3.4 rating, representing 5.4 million viewers.
TNT has averaged a 3.0 for its 30 playoff telecasts.
Thunder TV ratings also should benefit from earlier starting times the rest of the playoffs. Game 6 in the Thunder-Grizzlies series in Memphis will start at 8 p.m. Friday on ESPN. Game 7, if necessary, is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday on ABC. Evening games in the Western Conference finals will start at 8 p.m.
However, the Thunder still did well in many of the late playoff games, including an 18.7 for its four-hour, triple-overtime victory that started at 8:45 p.m. Monday in Memphis. The final quarter-hour at 12:30 a.m. received a 19.2.
For the regular season, Thunder ratings on Fox Sports Oklahoma were up 52 percent from last season, averaging a 3.2.