Pacers fans thump Knicks boosters in TV ratings

May 8, 2013
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Pacers KnicksIndiana Pacers fans are watching their team on television in big numbers this postseason—even bigger numbers than last year.

The Indianapolis market scored the highest nationwide rating for game one on Sunday, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research.

The game, which aired locally on ABC affiliate WRTV-TV Channel 6, registered an average rating of 14.4 and a 24 share, which means almost a quarter of the market was watching. At its peak in the fourth quarter, almost 200,000 central Indiana households tuned in, representing nearly 30 percent of the market.

WABC-TV in New York, home of the Knicks, scored a 9.1 rating and 19 share for Sunday’s game one.

Despite its lower rating, more than three times as many TV households in the New York City area (close to 700,000) watched game one than did those in central Indiana. They probably didn’t like what they saw, as the No. 3 seeded Pacers defeated the No. 2 seeded Knicks in New York.

Tuesday’s game two on TNT scored a 7.23 rating in the Indianapolis market. It would have been much higher had the Pacers not tanked in the fourth quarter. Early on the rating was 9.26 and spiked at 9.75 in the third and early fourth quarter, according to Nielsen. Then the wheels fell off the Pacers and the rating fell to 4.72 late in the fourth quarter.

Last year, the rating for game one in the second round against Miami was 11.7 and game two was a 9.5. Game one against the Heat last year was played on a Sunday on ABC and game two was played on a Tuesday on TNT.

This year’s average rating for the second round is 2.1 percent higher than last year, and again, would have been much higher had the Pacers not got blown out by 26 points in game two Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

The Sunday game this year easily made WRTV the local ratings winner. During the heart of the Pacers game from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the next-highest rating was WXIN-TV Channel 59, which was airing Fox’s NASCAR race coverage.

Local NASCAR fans clearly were switching over to the Pacers game. The NASCAR race was pulling an 11.78 rating in this market shortly before the Pacers and Knicks tipped off, then dipped into single digits after the game began. WXIN’s ratings fell all the way to 4.47 during the heat of the game, then rebounded to 12.99 after it ended.

Indianapolis is usually one of the top three markets for NASCAR telecasts, and is often No. 2 behind Charlotte, N.C., where the series is headquartered.

While the Pacers game was airing on WRTV, WISH-TV Channel 8 was scoring ratings of 2.0 to 4.4 with CBS’ coverage of the PGA Tour. WTHR-TV Channel 13 was stuck below 1.0 with NBC’s coverage of the National Hockey League playoffs.

WRTV isn’t the only station smiling about the Pacers’ playoff success. According to Nielsen, the ratings of round one games versus Atlanta that aired on Fox Sports Indiana were up 15 percent over round one games last year on the network.

Round one games last year against Orlando earned a 5.49 rating while the Pacers-Atlanta games this year on Fox Sports Indiana scored 6.34. That means about 68,000 central Indiana homes on average tuned in.

Momentum this year is spilling into anticipation for next year, Fox Sports Indiana officials said, and several sponsor deals for the 2013-14 season have already been signed.

“We’re pleased with the momentum and excitement,” said Fox Sports spokesman David Pokorny. “The fans are engaged and really interested, and our sales staff is hearing quite a bit of buzz.”

With tip time for game three of the Pacers-Knicks series in Indianapolis set for 8 p.m. Saturday and with the game airing on ABC (WRTV), ratings will likely return to strong double-digits.

Photo: Associated Press
 

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  • NASCAR
    Fans switched over from NASCAR because there was a massive weather delay. Overall, NASCAR ratings are as high as they've ever been in this market. That said, go Pacers!
  • NASCAR RACE ???
    DID YOU FAIL TO MENTION THE NASCAR RACE HAD A VERY LONG RAIN DELAY DURING THE GAME?
  • You failed to mention..
    that Nascar is boring!!!
    • Ratings
      Anthony, actually RATING refers to the percentage of the market watching. SHARE is the percentage of all televisions that are turned on.
    • Boring
      I would rather watch Paint Dry than a Napcar race!!!!!
    • I did not fail to notice that the stands were not near full this week as well even though Talladega pulled out 35,000 plus seats.

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    1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

    2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

    3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

    4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

    5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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