The New Jersey Nets: Where Stinking Sells

Normally, people don’t tune in to watch losing teams play. There are many reasons for this — most games are broadcasted locally, most consumers of those broadcasts are fans of the team, most fans don’t like watching their team struggle over and over again, most fans tend to be optimistic to a fault, etc — but regardless, it’s pretty much common sense.

That is, except when historic losing is on the line. Apparently, people like to watch teams that are so bad that they could make history for stinking. I can’t imagine why watching a train-wreck team is more entertaining then all the other things you could possibly be doing with your time, but for many people, I guess this passes for must-see TV.

According to CNBC’s Darren Rovell, the Nets’ local broadcast station, the YES Network, has actually seen their ratings for Nets games rise for the last five games as the Nets approached the record for most consecutive losses to start a season.

Ratings for the team’s games are averaging 25,000 households per game through last night’s telecast, which is still down 35 percent from last year’s ratings at this time. But as the Nets have continued to lose, more people have watched.

In the last five games, ratings are up 22 percent and the network says key demographics are up triple digits as compared to the first 13 games played.

Maybe those viewers are just that mesmerized by Marv Albert’s voice. Who knows? Or maybe there actually is something entertaining about watching a team so bad that they surrendered 49 points in a single quarter on a night where a loss would have put them in the record books. Maybe I’m the clueless one here after all.

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