Chicago Bulls: Local TV ratings tank after another disastrous season

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

A new report on local TV ratings for NBA games showed that the Chicago Bulls suffered a significant dip in ratings on local channels last season.

There hasn’t been much for Chicago Bulls fans to be excited about lately. The team is coming off of a pitiful 22-60 season after going 27-55 in 2017-2018.

That 27 win season was supposed to be the only time the Bulls tanked in order to get a top draft pick. Bulls executive John Paxson even said he never wanted to try and tank again.

So just one year later, what happened? This team didn’t go into the season as a resurgent force that would make the playoffs, but few expected them to be worse than the prior year.

The team had chemistry issues from the beginning. They relegated free agent signee Jabari Parker to the bench early in the season. Parker made it known he wasn’t thrilled with the move and was traded at the deadline last season.

There were injuries to key guys like rookie Wendell Carter Jr. and rising star Lauri Markkanen, but even that doesn’t really explain the poor play throughout the season as Markkanen was only out for a short time.

What may help explain it is the absolute laughingstock the Bulls were made to look like when they hired a new head coach in Jim Boylen. The team fired coach Fred Hoiberg in December and thought the hard-nosed Boylen was the answer.

This resulted in the team getting epically blown out by the Boston Celtics at home to the tune of 133-77. It was the largest home loss in team history, reportedly almost caused a mutiny in the Bulls locker room.

Boylen survived the season, and now the Bulls may offer him a contract extension. Great.

Suffice to say, it wasn’t a good year for the Bulls in any regard. Their top pick got injured early, they fired their coach and hired a less talented coach, and then they spent another year tanking with subpar results.

While the Bulls have some of the best revenue and attendance numbers year after year, a new report in Sports Business Daily shows that local TV ratings for many NBA teams are down. Big markets like Chicago are the most impacted.

This report shows that the ratings for Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago (formerly Comcast SportsNet) were down 24 percent from the prior year. It was a drastic change for a city with loyal sports viewers.

In addition, the report revealed that the team’s average rating also dipped down significantly. The team’s average TV rating was 1.36, which is pretty bad for a large market like Chicago.

This report isn’t going to convince one of the Reinsdorf’s to finally fire GarPax and end our long-suffering nightmare as Bulls fans. But maybe it will allow Bulls ownership to see that there are consequences for the team being this bad.

I know that’s extremely wishful thinking, but it also saddens me that I was excited to see this report today. I love the Bulls, but I wish I could take an ounce of pride in this team and the front office.

I don’t want to be excited about bad news regarding my favorite basketball team, but that’s where I’m at now. It’s awful, and I just want this team to go in the right direction no matter who mans the front office.

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GarPax aren’t going anywhere right now, but I can’t give up hope entirely that this team will be good again one day.

It will most likely be a day when they’re no longer employed by the Bulls.

The days of Bulls fans tuning in through thick and thin to watch a team they’ve always loved are over. It’s disappointing that I consider that a good thing.