Wizards-Bulls Game 1 TV ratings, compared to other local playoff games


(Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Because there’s a small segment of folks that cares very much about this stuff, here’s some television ratings information for the first game of the Wizards-Bulls series.

The game earned a 3.29 household rating in the D.C. market on TNT and a 2.05 rating on Comcast SportsNet, according to Nielsen. (First-round games that aren’t on ABC can be broadcast on both national and local television.) That makes for a combined 5.34 rating, the second-highest local rating for a Wizards playoff game since Game 5 of 2006. (The highest in that span came in Game 3 of 2008. Both of those games were against Cleveland.)

And bear in mind, this was Easter Sunday.

How does that compare to some other recent D.C. sports playoff games?

Well, apples to kumquats, obviously. But here are some.

* Game 1 of the 2012 NLDS series between the Nats and Cardinals earned about an 8.4, according to overnights. That game was also on a Sunday, and was on TBS. Game 4 of that series — on TNT, on a Thursday afternoon — earned about a 9.1 rating. And Game 5 of that series — on a Friday night — earned about a 16.7 rating.

(And there are a million reasons that makes sense. It’s a shorter series, and there are fewer teams in the MLB playoffs, and the Nats were the top seed, and on and on. Like I said, apples to kumquats.)

* The most recent Redskins playoff game — against the Seahawks in January 2013 — earned about a 50.2 household rating. In a related story, I’m getting ready to post a blog item about DeSean Jackson trying to catch a dead fish.

* The Caps, obviously, have played the most playoff games of any local team in recent years. Here are a few ratings highlights. The 2008 first-round series against the Flyers — which marked Washington’s return to the playoffs after a long absence — averaged a 3.5 rating over seven games. Game 1 of that series earned a 2.3 household rating, and Game 7 of that series earned a 5.34. Game 1 of the 2009 first-round series against the Rangers earned a 3.3 rating. The 2010 first-round series against Montreal averaged a 5.3 rating, which included a 5.6 for Game 6 and an 8.1 for Game 7. Game 1 of the 2011 first-round series against the Rangers earned a 6.18 rating. The 2012 first-round series against Boston averaged a 6.1 rating, for games split between NBC and Comcast SportsNet. Game 6 of that series — which was on NBC – earned an 8.63 rating. And Game 7 of that series — back on CSN — earned an 8.01 rating.

* So the pattern seems clear: interest in a team goes up after repeated playoff appearances.

* In other Wizards ratings news, SportsBusiness Journal reported this week that — near the end of the season — the Wizards had the fourth-biggest percentage increase in local regular season ratings this season. According to SBJ, ratings were up 33 percent, to an average of 1.04. You’ll recall that the Caps in 2013 averaged a 1.62 on Comcast SportsNet, while the Nats’ local broadcasts averaged a 2.55 in 2012, their perfect season.

* Ted Leonsis responded to the “lack of buzz” issue on his blog this week.

Thank you Wizards fans for being ahead of the local media in your perspective and support of the Washington Wizards.

We will be at 90 percent renewals on our season tickets. I have a good feeling that we can enter next season with close to or at 10,000 season tickets per game. I am hopeful and believe we will sell out our playoff games.

I mean, if there’s any question about this, local media would love there to be soaring interest in this team. Soaring interest leads to pageviews which leads to pageview$$$ which leads to fabulous parties on yachts. The local media is all about that. And I think local media members have been way out in front in saying this team could do some damage. So I don’t know in what way the local media is behind in its perspective.

* In one final bit of Wizards media news, at least one reader wondered why the playoff games will appear on 99.1 FM instead of their usual home on 106.7 The Fan. The radio folks thought that — with lots of Nats games this month — it would make more sense to keep all Nats games on one station and all Wizards games on another. So all Wizards playoffs games will be on 99.1, while all Nats games will remain on 106.7 The Fan.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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