Or maybe the more relevant question is: Did Fox Sports Carolinas and Time Warner Cable bet on the wrong horse?
Nielsen put out a report late last week showing that, in the first month of the NBA season, several teams were getting better ratings in their local television markets. The New Orleans Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks all showed significant gains.
Nowhere to be found: the Charlotte Bobcats.
In response to our request, Nielsen provided the entire list, and the Bobcats were last in the league in local TV ratings with a 0.425 average household rating — the percentage of TV households in that market tuned to Bobcats games. That's actually a drop of 65 percent from last year's Bobcats number for the same time period, despite all the team's Carolina ties — GM Michael Jordan, head coach Larry Brown, point guard Raymond Felton, forward Sean May, etc.
To put it another way, the Bobcats are doing no better in Charlotte than hockey's Carolina Hurricanes, even though the Canes are based in Raleigh. (It's tougher to say exactly how well, or poorly, the Bobcats are doing in the Triangle, because Fox Sports Carolinas doesn't track viewers specifically in this area.)
It's not as if the Bobcats are putting a great product on the court. They're 4-9.
In April, the Bobcats completed a deal with Time Warner Cable for the naming rights to Charlotte Bobcats Arena and for moving Bobcats game telecasts from Time Warner's News 14 to Fox Sports South, which presumably offered the team much more TV exposure. Evidently, the benefits aren't showing up yet.
The teams with the best local ratings so far, according to The Nielsen Company:
1. San Antonio 6.6
2. Cleveland 6.2
3. Portland 5.0
4. Utah 4.8
5. L.A. Lakers 4.2
6. Detroit 4.1
7. Phoenix 4.0
8. Boston 3.4
9. Houston 3.2
10. Chicago 2.9