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The Wizards have the NBA's sharpest decline in local television ratings

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Not a good sign on how the Washington area sports market is, even with the Wizards having a down year.

Stewart W. Small

The Wizards are below .500 this season, and it's not a surprise that fewer people will want to watch their games on television.

So when John Ourand and John Lombardo of the Sports Business Daily reported on Monday that the Wizards' local television ratings dropped from what it was last season, I wasn't surprised.

What did surprise me was that the Wizards had the sharpest percentage decline in viewership year over year -- a whopping 34 percent. This is the highest decline of all NBA teams' local affiliates. The teams with the second through fifth deepest declines were the New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, and Chicago Bulls.

It doesn't stop there, though.

The Wizards also have one of the lowest average ratings in their market among all NBA teams, where they have the third lowest rating, at 0.96. The only teams with worse ratings were the Denver Nuggets and Brooklyn Nets.

Washington's ratings have dropped in part because of their worse performance this season. Washington is just 22-27 so far in the 2015-16 season. In the 2014-15 season, the Wizards were 31-18 after 49 games.

The ratings also indicate what we already know about the Washington, D.C. market. It is a transient area, and sports fans don't rally around the team until they are winning consistently.

Though the NHL's midseason ratings were not released in the article, I would imagine that the Capitals' local ratings have increased from last season given that they currently the NHL's hottest team with a 38-9-4 record.

Regardless of whether they make the playoffs, we can do a lot better when it comes to supporting the Wizards, whether it's at Verizon Center or when they are on television.