Ratings Roundup: Spurs, Penguins Top Local Regular-Season Charts

The San Antonio Spurs’ return to dominance atop the Western Conference this season resulted in a massive boost in viewership. The team led the NBA with a 10.19 local rating for its regular-season games on Fox Sports Southwest, up 52% from last year’s mark. The Utah Jazz came in second with a 5.6 rating (up 1.8%), and the Miami Heat finished third with a LeBron James-fueled 4.94 average (up a whopping 99%). Without James, the Cleveland Cavaliers experienced the biggest ratings drop in at least seven years. The team’s 3.93 ratings on Fox Sports Ohio represented a 54% drop, but the Cavs were still the seventh-highest-rated team in the league. For the second consecutive year, the New Jersey Nets were the league’s lowest-rated team, with a 0.29 rating on YES Network, barely beaten out by the Clippers with a 0.99 rating…

…On the ice, the Pittsburgh Penguins continued to dominate the NHL’s local TV ratings, with the league’s highest rating and largest average audience. Despite ranking as the NHL’s No. 22 market, Penguins games on Root Sports averaged a league-high 8.68 rating and 101,000 homes per game. The Buffalo Sabres came in second with a 7.03 average rating, followed by the Detroit Red Wings at 4.03. The Florida Panthers once again served as the ratings caboose of the league, notching a 0.16 rating and 3,000-home average…

…Comcast SportsNet Chicago posted massive television-ratings increases for the 2010-11 regular season. The RSN averaged a 4.50 household rating (approximately 157,617 households per game),  up 90% over last year’s 2.37, 122% over 2008-09’s 2.03, and 157% over 2007-08’s 1.75. The 4.50 final regular-season average on Comcast SportsNet is also the highest Bulls regular-season average on any Chicago RSN since the 1997-98 season).  In addition, the 18 highest-rated Bulls regular-season games in CSN Chicago history occurred this season (the network launched in October 2004). The all-time highest-rated regular-season or playoff game in network history to date was posted on March 7 vs. New Orleans (7.21)…

…ESPN Deportes’ live coverage of El Clasico, featuring La Liga’s Real Madrid and Barcelona, was Spanish-language cable television’s highest-rated telecast among Hispanic men 18+ so far this year.  The April 16 match from Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid averaged more than 524,000 Hispanic male viewers 18+. The 9.4 rating represents an average 483,000 Hispanic households.  The match is the second-most-watched telecast ever on ESPN Deportes, behind the November 2009 Clasico, which delivered 512,000 Hispanic households.