How the Warriors Are Driving Record Ratings in the Bay Area
One of 10 NBC Sports Regional Networks, CSN Bay Area is seeing on-air and digital numbers higher than any time in the station’s history.
"To be in business with these guys is phenomenal," said Ted Griggs, President and General Manager for CSN Bay Area and CSN California, referring to the Warriors." I grew up in the Bay Area and I’ve been here (at CSNBA) since 1998, and we always used to say that the Warriors are the sleeping giant in this market. Well, they’ve definitely awakened something special here."
How big are Warriors games on television? Their January 25 game at home versus the San Antonio Spurs was the highest-rated telecast ever on CSN Bay Area, delivering over 400,000 households, or in TV parlance, a monster 16.08 household rating. For the season, Warriors games are averaging an 8.41 household rating (+123% vs. last year). And while male demographic ratings are up 78% (M18-49) and 89% (M25-54) year-over-year, the female demo ratings are up 155% (W18-49) and 159% (W25-54).
"The Warriors have a slogan that they are the Bay Area’s team," Griggs adds. "People here are divided between the Giants and A’s in MLB, and Raiders and 49ers in the NFL, but the Warriors are the team that brings it all together. They draw the most fantastically diverse audience that crosses all cultures, all sexes. The joy that they play with every game and the types of guys they have on this team appeal to every type of person, it’s incredible."
As of Tuesday, the Warriors (defending champions, by the way) have an NBA-best record of 44-4, led by reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry, but the marketability doesn’t stop with Steph, and the relationship between the team and the network really plays that up.
The network expanded its already in-demand pre-game show, Warriors Pregame Live, from 30 minutes to an hour, with ratings up 97% this year, while Warriors Postgame Live is up 156%. Beyond the day-of-game programming, there are two monthly shows that the network produces, Warriors Ground (billed as a show for the fans) and Warriors Central. In another nod to the likeability of the club, Central includes a regular segment called "Cookin’ with the Currys," hosted by Steph’s wife Ayesha, an accomplished chef who also garners guest appearances from the family’s equally-famous daughter Riley.
"They’ve gone above and beyond with us as a partner in giving us more access to the players, which doesn’t always happen when a team gets good," Griggs said. "For example, we did this surprise with Draymond Green last week with a double-satellite and his mother in Michigan interrupting the interview to tell him that he made the NBA All-Star Game. That’s due to the ingenuity of the Warriors PR and marketing departments. They could have gone to ESPN or Turner, but they wanted to work with their home broadcasters. And that means a lot to us."
Not only are the television ratings through the roof, the Warriors are a digital slam dunk for CSNBayArea.com. Through 42 games, fans streamed 46.9 million minutes of Warriors games, up 546% compared to the same point in the 2014-15 season. And the January 25 game against the Spurs saw a network record 2.9 million minutes streamed, with 66,000 live video starts. There’s even a special section of the website called "Steph-in’ Amazing," dedicated to showing you every Curry basket during the season.
What has CSN Bay Area learned from this experience? Obviously, winning makes a difference. But the takeaways for the network go far beyond that."
It’s affirmed a lot of things that we already knew," said Griggs. "We need to make stars out of the players, to make them people that other people want to go out and wear their jerseys and be associated with them. With a guy like Steph, who is arguably the best player on the planet and unarguably the best person on the planet, that’s easy. But like I said, this team is full of great guys. But our job is to make them relatable, and then the moms are going out and buying jerseys for their kids. Sometimes even for themselves. And those are people that are going to watch our games every single night."
(Photo: AP Images)