Sports News

Wizards’ local TV ratings down 57% this year, biggest drop in NBA

The Washington Wizards’ television ratings on NBC Sports Washington so far are down 57% from a year ago, the biggest decline in the NBA, Sports Business Journal reported.

At 6-12, the Wizards are not one of the worst teams in the league but certainly near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. John Wall continues to rehab an Achilles tear that likely will sideline him for all of the 2019-20 campaign. But the Wizards still have a star attraction in Bradley Beal, the NBA’s fifth-leading scorer with 28.0 points per game.

Much was made about the changes NBC Sports Washington made to its Wizards broadcast team. Kara Lawson served two years as the play-by-play announcer after Phil Chenier left, but then Lawson left for an assistant coaching job with the Boston Celtics.

More importantly to many fans, Steve Buckhantz’s contract expired last year and was not renewed. The booth was filled by Justin Kutcher on play-by-play and former Wizards players Drew Gooden and Caron Butler as rotating analysts.

Are fewer fans tuning in because of the new broadcast team, the product on the court or some combination of factors? It’s hard to say, but the trend is worth keeping an eye on throughout the season.

For a comparison, Sports Business Journal reported that the Golden State Warriors have seen a 51% drop in ratings on their local NBC Sports network. The Warriors are coping with injuries to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, no longer have Kevin Durant, and are a league-worst 4-18.

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