Which NBA team has the worst local television ratings per capita in the entire NBA? The Brooklyn Nets. Last season, the Nets drew 0.55 percent of the New York market to watch their games on the YES Network, a number that was down 29 percent from the year before.
None of that matters. In what may be the best evidence yet of the growing popularity of the NBA — and the value of live sports television programming — the Nets and the YES Network are nearing a new, massive local television deal, reports the Sports Business Journal (via Nets Daily).
The Nets used a contractual “reset” that occurs every five years to get YES Network’s majority owner Fox Sports to increase its rights fee to an annual average of around $40 million, starting with 2017-18 season, according to sources.
This deal would include both broadcast and digital rights.
The Nets ratings are not likely to go up this season — after buying out Deron Williams this summer this team is likely to take a step back in quality of play. They didn’t sign any big stars that will draw eyeballs. They are sliding into a rebuilding era and have yet to capture the hearts and minds of the majority of Brooklyn hoops fans.
And still, that’s worth double what they were getting for local broadcast rights. For the YES Network, the Nets are an important part of their winter lineup (while they wait for baseball season to start).
The Nets are not alone, the Clippers are in the midst of a renegotiation and owner Steve Ballmer — whose team draws considerable fewer viewers than the Lakers, even with the latter’s recent troubles — is not going to settle for double what he was getting.