Last night, the 76ers ended a 3-game win streak by dropping a relatively close game to the Boston Celtics.
But even without phenom Joel Embiid, who remains sidelined while nursing a knee injury, the team kept it competitive … and fun. Not only have fans been able to witness the surprising emergence of point guard T.J. McConnell, but Dario Saric would probably be the NBA’s clear-cut Rookie of the Year if it weren’t for the emergence of “The Process.”
What’s most important is the resurgent Sixers are entertaining to watch again, and it’s having an impact on the television ratings of the team’s games.
According to numbers obtained by Philly.com, Sixers game broadcasts, which feature Marc Zumoff alongside color commentator Alaa Abdelnaby and sideline reporter Molly Sullivan, are averaging a 1.9 household rating on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. That’s an increase of 111 percent over the television rating of fans who endured last season’s 72-loss team.
In fact, the last time the team’s broadcasts have received ratings like this were during the 2011-12 season when the Sixers made their last trip to the postseason.
CSN is also reflecting the fun surrounding the Sixers and their cat-raising fans in its broadcasts. Before last night’s game, the network aired an intro spoofing the popular 1980s sitcom Perfect Strangers, with McConnell and Saric standing in for Larry and Balki.
We had a 'Perfect' open to tonight's Sixers Pregame Live.
— CSN Philly (@CSNPhilly) February 16, 2017
Revenue for CSN has not been directly affected by low viewership for the Sixers and other teams the last few years because people pay for the regional sports network through fees in their monthly cable bills. About 75 percent of CSN's revenue comes from these fees, according to a report by the Inquirer's Bob Fernandez.
The Sixers' numbers are also up on CSN’s live stream, where fans have been able to watch games on CSNPhilly.com or through the NBC Sports app since late 2014.
Including the game broadcasts and Sixers Pregame and Postgame Live shows, CSN’s live stream numbers are up 201 percent. Unique visitors are also up 214 percent through the same number of games last season.
The ratings boon dates all the way to the preseason, when CSN’s broadcast of the Sixers’ preseason opener drew a 1.6 rating, the highest for a preseason game since 2011-12.
The ratings come on the heels of Forbes' valuing the Sixers at $800 million, almost triple the $280 million Josh Harris and his group of co-owners paid to buy the team from Comcast-Spectator in 2011. The team’s valuation increased $100 million alone from just last season, when Forbes valued the team at $700 million.
The Sixers are now on the All-Star break. The next game to air on CSN will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, when the team faces the Washington Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center.