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News » Bear market causing empty seats?

Bear market causing empty seats?

Bear market causing empty seats?
THE NBA: Where sagging attendance happens.

As it turns out, a catchy advertising slogan is no match for a national economic downturn. According to a recent report, paid attendance at NBA games through the first three weeks of the season is down from last season by an average of 2,056 fans per game. If you look at the cost of the average NBA ticket price ($49.47), that represents a loss of over $100,000 per game.

Five teams Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Atlanta, Indiana and Portland have seen their average attendance rise by more than 1,000 fans per game. But seven teams Miami, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Charlotte, Orlando and the Warriors are down more than 1,000 fans per game.

Before Tuesday's home game against Portland, attendance at Oracle Arena had slipped by an average of 1,237 per game. The announced attendance for the Blazers game was 18,284. Hardly a small crowd, but 1,312 short of capacity. The Warriors finally notched their first sellout of the season Friday against Chicago.

"Business right now, it's tough. It's no different than it is for any other industry. And I think in ours, we offer entertainment and the ability for you to escape," Warriors president Robert Rowell told reporters last week. "We still have to create something that's a little bit better than the other thing(s) to escape to. So we've got our work cut out there as far as being creative and creating an environment where people can come and relax and watch a game.

"But I do think business is tough. You can ask all the various sports teams and they're all feeling it."

But is it all about the economy? As is being shown in New Orleans, Atlanta and Portland, more fans will come if there's an improved product being put on the floor. And if the product's worse, like it is in Miami, Sacramento and Clipperland, they probably won't.

And let's face it, Grizzlies-Bucks in mid-November only generates so much heat, regardless of what ad campaign slogan you're using.

Kings OF MEDIOCRITY: Sacramento coach Reggie Theus is well aware that his stay in the state capital will be a short one if the banged-up Kings don't show some improvement in the coming weeks.

Sacramento beat New Orleans 105-96 on Wednesday night to raise its record top 5-8, which isn't all that bad considering Francisco Garcia, Brad Miller, Mikki Moore and Kevin Martin have all missed time. Still, co-owner Joe Maloof told Sacramento media outlets last week that the team needs to do a better job of developing its less-experienced talent.

"Well, I think Reggie's future depends upon Reggie and how he develops our young players," Maloof told the Sacramento Bee. "Just like anything in life, you have to look at your wins and losses, look at your success. Is your team progressing? Are they getting better? Can you see a bright future for your team?"

Theus signed a three-year deal before last season, with the team holding the option for the third year.

By the way, attendance at Arco Arena is down by more than 2,000 since last season.

EVERYTHING OK?: And from the starved-for-entertainment department, attendance at Oklahoma City's Ford Center has averaged 18,500 through the Thunder's first seven home games. The SuperSonics averaged 13,355 per game during their last season in Seattle.

Clearly there are more entertainment options in Seattle than Oklahoma City, where a near-capacity crowd of 18,312 watched the one-win Thunder lose by 20 to the Clippers, who earned their second win.

One wonders, though, how long they'll keep coming out, especially if the Thunder continues to score less than 90 points per game. But if everyone stays patient, there should be brighter days ahead with Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook forming a decent nucleus.

Contact Curtis Pashelka at

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: November 23, 2008


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