By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
May 3, 2013
NBA TV viewership during the regular season was down from the record-setting 2011-12 campaign for all networks that broadcast games. Of the NBA’s TV partners, TNT experienced the biggest year-over-year drop in viewership at nearly 20%.
Though TV numbers took a hit, the league posted record box office numbers this season. Thanks in large part to an 88% season ticket renewal rate, the NBA generated more than $1 billion in gate revenue this year, according to John Lombardo of SportsBusiness Journal. At least 20 of the league’s 30 teams saw an increase in average per-game gate revenue, with more than $100 million in revenue coming from the sale of new season tickets.
Ultimately, for NBA teams, gate receipts are more important than TV ratings and viewership. The 2011-12 TV ratings were artificially high because of the lockout-condensed season, and TV rights contracts are long-term. Given the relative volatility of ticket sales, the league has to be content with this regular season’s business metrics.