The NBA’s local television ratings saw a significant decline during the first half of the 2019-20 season, and one of the steepest declines affected one of the league’s marquee franchises, according to a report on Monday.
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The Golden State Warriors, who have appeared in the last five straight NBA Finals, experienced a 66 percent decline in ratings in their local television market, Sports Business Journal reported. The decline ranked as the second-largest among all NBA teams, trailing only the Denver Nuggets.
The ratings drop coincides with a rare slump for the Warriors on the court, following the departure of star forward Kevin Durant and injuries to Golden State mainstays Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors posted a 12-43 record in the first half of the season.
For the 27 of 30 NBA teams for which local rating data was available, 14 posted a decline in viewership in the first half, according to the report. The NBA’s ratings for nationally televised broadcasts fell 12 percent during the same period.
Pundits have posed various reasons for the NBA’s rating struggles, including the cord-cutting trend, “load management” among some star players and early-season injuries to key talent such as Curry and New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson. The NBA’s television deals with cable partners, such as ESPN and TNT, have limited the league’s reach.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last December that the cable television model was “broken to a certain extent.”
For the Warriors, ratings are down during the franchise’s first season in their new arena, the Chase Center. The team secured $2 billion in contract-obligated revenue tied to the arena before it opened its doors last September.