October 13, 2011
Even the junkies, it appears, are turning away from the NBA's product. Or tuning away, as it were, because the NBA's own network is suffering through its worst-ever ratings.
The Twitter account TVSportsratings is reporting that NBA TV is only barely beating out the Fuel network in terms of day-to-day viewership, the result of having little to show on their network outside of older, tangentially basketball-related movies like "One on One," "Teen Wolf," and "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh." Though all three of these flicks have their deserved cult audiences, and NBA TV was correct to show these movies in the first place, you can only go back to that "Teen Wolf" well so many times.
Here are a few of the tweets:
It makes sense. Not only has the season started for broadcast network TV shows in prime time, but the three other major team sports are in full swing. Along with college football, NASCAR, and a golf season that seemingly will never end.
Toss in an endless array of other kitschy viewing options on cable (VH1 Classic, where I usually go to see how Lou Reed's "Transformer" album was made, showed both "Fletch" and "Fletch Lives" in succession two times last week), and you can see why fans just aren't bothering to pull up NBA TV. Or, if you're like me, habitually dialing up channel 216 on Direct TV before seeing that "One on One" is on again, and then dashing off to catch up on the latest episode of "Chopped."
This isn't to discredit the people behind the scenes at NBA TV. Because they've done fantastic work since the lockout started.
It's the NBA's fault that they've locked out their players, but NBA TV has done a brilliant job at working around the margins in developing programming during the lockout. Not only is it allowing its analysts to honestly and objectively cover the labor negotiations, but NBA TV has gone deeper and deeper into the archives to pull out more and more classic games. It heard us when we complained about seeing the same Suns/Rockets game from 1995 13 million times on NBA TV from 2001 onward, and the rotation during this lockout has been must-watch TV for the junkies.
For a while, at least. Because even I know what channel Fuel is on, at this point.
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