Pacers score NBA’s highest TV ratings jump

UPDATE: Tuesday’s Indiana Pacers-Miami Heat game was the highest rated regular season Pacers telecast ever on Fox Sports Indiana, according to Nielsen. The Pacers’ 90-84 win in front of a sellout crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse earned a 9.33 household rating in Indianapolis. That surpasses the previous high of 9.32 set Feb. 4, 2003 vs. the Los Angeles Lakers.

As the Indiana Pacers bolted to a franchise-best record, television ratings for the team's games on Fox Sports Indiana during the first month of the season have skyrocketed.

The Pacers rating gains come at a time when TV audiences are increasingly fractionalized by continually growing cable TV and online offerings. In this day and age, any double-digit percentage rating increase is reason to celebrate. That's why Fox Sports officials have as much reason to smile as Pacers officials and fans.

The TV ratings for Pacers games on Fox were up 113 percent in November over the same period a year ago, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research. That is the team’s highest opening month since 2005 and the increase is the largest in the NBA this season.

Overall, the Pacers’ local television ratings ranked fourth in the NBA, up from 13th at the end of last season, according to Nielsen. The Pacers Nov. 27 game at Charlotte (6.45) was the highest-rated regular season game on Fox Sports Indiana since April 20, 2005 (6.52, season finale, vs. Chicago), according to Nielsen.

Nearly 70,000 central Indiana households tuned into the Pacers' Nov. 27 game. The Pacers telecasts on Fox Sports Indiana in November averaged a 4. 1 household rating in the Indianapolis market. That means an average of almost 45,000 households are watching each game.

After Tuesday night's victory over Miami, the 19-3 Pacers are almost certain to gain a larger following. TV ratings for NBA teams often increase as playoff intrigue ratchets up later in the season.

Since the Pacers figure to be hot in the hunt for the No. 1 spot for the Eastern Conference, their ratings are likely to increase during the second half of the season more than most of the other 29 NBA teams.

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