In their first season out of the playoffs in ten years, the Atlanta Hawks reportedly lost more than half their viewership on Fox Sports Southeast, the local television partner of the team. Sports Business Daily brings word that no team in the league dropped further in the ratings from 2016-17 than the Hawks, who have consistently struggled to draw eyeballs in the Atlanta market. 2017-18 was the worst year for the Hawks since 2006-07, when they finished 30-52 before nabbing Al Horford in that June’s NBA Draft.
Atlanta finished third from the bottom in overall ratings, just ahead of Orlando and Brooklyn. Unsurprisingly, successful teams drew the biggest ratings and the biggest gains over last season: Golden State, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Indiana were top five in local ratings this season.
TV ratings are often fickle and can bounce back and forth based on the success of the team, both during the regular season and the preceding offseason. Despite riding a 13-year lottery streak outside the playoff picture, Minnesota’s ratings jumped 76 percent this year based on their offseason acquisition of Jimmy Butler and a playoff appearance in the Western Conference.
Atlanta likely isn’t in line for that sort of jump in 2018-19, but a few down years won’t deter fans from coming back once the team is a contender once more.