LEADOFF: Hawks’ local TV ratings down 50 percent, study shows


Good morning. This is LEADOFF, today’s early look inside Atlanta sports. 

The Hawks’ record – tied for worst in the NBA -- has taken a predictably big bite out of the team’s local TV ratings this season. 

Ratings for Hawks games on Fox Sports Southeast have fallen 50 percent in the Atlanta TV market from the same point last season, according to SportsBusiness Journal’s  semiannual analysis of NBA viewership. 

The decline is the largest by any NBA team in its home market this season.

The team with the second largest local ratings decline:  the Suns, down 46 percent in the Phoenix market. Not coincidentally, the Suns are tied with the Hawks for the NBA’s worst record at 18-41. 

The Hawks’ games have averaged a 0.58 Nielsen rating in the Atlanta market, according to the SBJ study. That means 0.58 of every 100 homes – or about 14,000 homes – have tuned in on average. 

Only one team in the study has averaged a lower TV rating in its home market this season than the Hawks: the Brooklyn Nets at 0.42, which nevertheless is up 9 percent from a year ago. (The Nets’ record is 19-40.) On the other hand, the defending champion Golden State Warriors have the highest local rating at 8.87. 

(The report, published Monday, examined 27 of the 30 NBA teams. Data was not available for Memphis, Toronto and Utah.) 

All 82 Hawks games this season are being televised on Fox Sports Southeast. The Hawks’ next game is Friday at Indiana. 

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READ ON … 

> Steve Hummer writes from the Braves’ first full-squad workout of spring training: “Yes, the expectations for this season are rightfully tempered. Sure, we’ve heard it all before. But it is the first full-squad workout of spring. So, you can join the circle, too, and take the manager’s message as a personal wake-up call for another baseball season.” Read his column here.   

> Some changes are in the works at SunTrust Park for the Braves’ second season there. Six rows of seats will be removed from two prime lower-level sections and will be replaced with four-person tables, and the stadium’s largest hospitality club will be expanded by 2,000 square feet. See story here.

> Cleaning up college basketball won’t be easy, but it can be done. Mark Bradley tells us how.


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