While the team may not be performing as well on the court as we’d all like, that doesn’t mean that Suns fans are turning off their televisions. According to the latest numbers, television ratings for Suns broadcasts on both Fox Sports Arizona and KUTP-TV Channel 45 are up 18% over last year.
This seems to indicate a couple of things to me. First, it shows how much fans of Phoenix care about their team. Even in a season where earning entry into the playoff field is a struggle, Suns fans continue to tune in. Much of this, of course, comes from the fact that overall interest in the league is higher this year – both ESPN and TNT report an increase in ratings for their weekly NBA broadcasts. As Fox Sports Arizona Marketing Director Brett Hansen said,
“This has been one of the most anticipated NBA seasons in a long time and with the Suns battling for playoff position, every game they play is important.”
Hansen’s quote mentions the other striking aspect of these ratings: This Suns team might be more interesting than last year’s. True, the team doesn’t have the offensive firepower of Amar’e Stoudemire and Jason Richardson, but little was up in the air for the Suns during last year’s regular season. While the product on the court – at least offensively – was undoubtedly better, their playoff appearance was all but assured. That appearance added a level of intrigue to the Western Conference Finals, of course, but I’d argue that the up-and-down nature of this year’s team makes for a more engrossing regular season experience. In years past, one could miss a game or two and not expect much change the next time one tuned in. This year, every game, as Hansen said, is so important, with different lineups and shakeups in the rotation, that each broadcast is must-see TV.