Breaking news: Not too many people watch the Bucks.
Sports Business Daily recently took a look at the television ratings of all 30 NBA teams, revealing the top five and bottom five in three categories: viewership, average ratings, and change in ratings from last year. As you can guess, the disappointing small market Bucks didn't stack up very favorably in any category.
Overall, ratings for Bucks games on FSN were down 38.6% from last year -- the third largest decline in the league. However, the real downturn comes in the viewership numbers: An average of 13,000 people tuned in to watch the Bucks, a staggeringly small portion of the state. That is also 2,000 less than the number of people that attended the average Bucks game. Yeesh. Granted, the TV figures are household numbers, so technically the number of individual viewers is somewhat higher, but still. Overall, only the Bobcats had a lower average number of viewers/households. Meanwhile, small market San Antonio rules the TV ratings for obvious reasons. Utah comes out right behind them, with both teams combining a history of winning with a monopoly on pro sports in their respective areas. On the microscopic positive side, attendance was ever so slightly up for the Bucks this year, from 15,100 to 15,400. Hey, at least it didn't go down, I guess.
The only way to get these numbers up is by winning, of course. Sadly, "Fear the Deer" seemingly left as soon as it came. Combine losing, a small home market, and a lack of marketing and limited interest in professional basketball outside of the city of Milwaukee, and you get poor overall ratings.
Interestingly enough, one of the teams that saw the biggest ratings boost was the Timberwolves. This could be attributed to the rising star of Kevin Love and a young supporting cast, but you'd think their league-worst 17-65 record would have been more of a deterrent for viewers. The team that saw the biggest boost was... wait for it -- the Clippers! I hear they have a certain Blake Griffin guy over there. Never underestimate the power of a superstar to attract fans -- something that the Bucks currently lack.