Not all the numbers are in, but not only are the Utah Jazz doing better on the court than many expected during the NBA playoffs, but the team’s national TV ratings are looking up, too.
Of course, given how poorly the Jazz fared on TNT and ESPN during the regular season, they pretty much have to do better in the postseason.
Here’s how the Utah-Oklahoma City series is looking, in terms of TV:
GAME 1 — April 15/TNT • 3.0 rating, 4.1 million viewers. That viewership number is up 387 percent from the Jazz’s regular-season TNT/ESPN average, although it was was down 12 percent from the corresponding playoff game a year ago on TNT.
GAME 2 — April 18/NBATV • 0.30 rating and 482,000 viewers. Keep in mind that NBATV viewership is much lower than ESPN/TNT — and this was up 3 percent from the corresponding 2017 playoff game.
GAME 3 — April 21/ESPN • 2.1 rating and 3.4 million viewers. It was that Saturday’s most-viewed NBA game, up 213 percent from the Jazz’s regular-season average on ESPN/TNT. But it was down 23 percent from the corresponding 2017 playoff game.
GAME 4 — April 23/TNT • Viewership numbers aren’t in yet, but the game did a 2.9 overnight rating, and the Salt Lake TV market led the way with a 10.0 rating. (A rating point represents 1 percent of TV-equipped homes, either nationally or in a specific TV market.)
To put these numbers in some perspective, Game 4 of the Cleveland-Indiana series earned a 3.7 rating and drew 6.1 million viewers, up 54 percent in ratings and 53 percent in viewers from the corresponding 2017 game — which happened to be a Jazz-Clippers contest. The Cavs-Pacers game was the highest-rated and most-watched first-round matchup since 2012.
And to put them in further perspective, the Jazz were last in the league in terms of viewership for games telecast nationally on ESPN, ABC and TNT for the 2017-18 season, averaging 1.06 million viewers in seven appearances. So maybe the team’s rise and the emergence of Donovan Mitchell as a bona-fide star will get the Jazz on national TV more often next season … or maybe not.
Not surprisingly, Golden State (31 games, average of 2.72 million viewers) and Cleveland (27 games, average of 2.65 million viewers) were the most-viewed NBA teams nationally during the regular season.
If you’re thinking that seven national appearances for the Jazz put them at the bottom of the list — not even close. Utah was tied with the Knicks at 15th, ahead of Dallas, Detroit and Toronto with five appearances each; Miami and Phoenix (4); Charlotte and Sacramento (3); Memphis (2); Chicago and Indiana (1); and Atlanta, Brooklyn and Orlando (zero).