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Sports Business

Pacers give tickets away, set future

April 16, 2008
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jimmorrisThe Indiana Pacers are in a giving mood for tonight’s Fan Appreciation Night. The team is advertising that all lower level tickets will sell for $30, club level tickets for $20 and upper level tickets for $10. That’s quite a discount for the season finale against the New York Knicks. In some cases that’s better than a 50 percent discount.

But Pacers fans interested in going to the game, could probably do better. The Pacers are so bent on filling Conseco Fieldhouse, they’ve given handfuls of tickets away to just about every church, charity and not-for-profit organization in greater Indianapolis. Indianapolis Downtown Inc., a not-for-profit consortium of downtown businesses, this week has been advertising that it has 800 tickets to give away for tonight’s game. A number of area churches posted ads for free tickets in their bulletin this past Sunday. This marks the biggest ticket giveaway the Pacers have launched since moving into Conseco Fieldhouse eight years ago. With the team last in the 30-team NBA in attendance, ticket demand hasn’t been this low in two decades. But even this giveaway isn’t likely to get them out of the cellar in attendance. The Pacers trail Memphis, the league's 29th place team in attendance, by about 700 fans per game. The Pacers' great giveway will likely keep the team's average per game attendance above 12,000.

Attendance aside, Pacers management is looking ahead. Today at 2 p.m. the team has scheduled a press conference featuring co-owner Herb Simon, president of basketball operations Larry Bird, and Jim Morris, special advisor to the CEO and president. Though Pacers officials refuse to give a clue as to what this major press conference is about, NBA insiders said it will likely be about the team’s future leadership and direction. Morris figures to be central to this announcement. Curiously, the Pacers have a special advisor to the CEO and president, but since Donnie Walsh left the team to take over the New York Knicks, the Pacers have no CEO and president. Sources close to the team said Morris could be elevated within the team, possibly even to CEO where he would handle such critical matters as corporate relations, sponsorship and suite sales, marketing and communications, and the operation of the Fieldhouse. Pacers fans will have to wait until this afternoon to find out for sure.

So would Morris be the right man to take over Pacers Sports & Entertainment? And as it stands right now, would you want free tickets to tonight’s—or any—Pacers game?
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