Pacers attendance better, not great

November 25, 2008
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fieldhouseThe Indiana Pacers are in the bottom five in the National Basketball Association in attendance, but it’s still a solid leap up from last year. And it’s early, so there’s lots of time to get better—or worse.

Through seven home games, the Pacers are averaging 13,595 fans per game at Conseco Fieldhouse. Only Philadelphia, Charlotte, Sacramento and Memphis trail the Pacers in attendance. Still, that’s a marked improvement over last year’s league worst 12,221 average for 41 home games. But it’s doubtful the per game revenue average has increased. With all those $5 tickets and buy one and get one free offers, it’s likely the team’s per game revenue generation has decreased. It’s important to get the fans to sample the product, but you have to wonder if by discounting the product, the Pacers are permanently devaluing it. Time will tell.

So far, the fans’ reaction has been mixed. Some say there’s still something missing. I’ve got news for you folks. Reggie Miller isn’t coming through the locker room doors and onto the court—unless he’s in a three-piece suit with a TNT mic in his hand. More recently though, fans have said the atmosphere inside the Fieldhouse is improving—and more importantly so is the play on the court. Fans seem to like the more college-like feel the Pacers are fostering in the Fieldhouse. And the players' and coaches' ‘try harder’ mentality is slowly eroding local fans’ cynicism toward the organization.

Meanwhile, the Pacers are launching another creative sales campaign. This Friday, while countless Hoosiers will be headed to area shopping centers in the wee hours of the morning, Pacers officials hope at least a few thousand will venture to Conseco Fieldhouse. $5 tickets go on sale in the club and balcony level from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Cock-a-doodle-do! During the same time, merchandise in the team’s Conseco Fieldhouse gift shop will be 50 percent off for ticket buyers. The Pacers are offering other discount ticket and merchandise deals through noon.

While the Pacers face a difficult schedule ahead, the team’s sales and marketing staff may face the stiffest competition of all, a free falling economy and a fiscally belt-tightening fan base.
  • As a long time fan who sat through 20-62 seasons, I think the Pacers are on the right track. I'm not a marketing guru, but I think the discounts are needed so fans can 'sample' the product. It is not sustainable though because it devalues the Season Ticket Holder, but I would hope the Pacer organization has found other ways to compensate the STH who paid full price, such as Special events, meet and greets, signed items, etc.

    The Thanksgiving day thing is genius.
  • The idea of drastically lowering ticket prices to bring in more fans isn't new, but I'm glad somebody finally tried it.
  • Maybe they can make up the revenue differential with $3.75 cokes and $5 beers. They HAD to try something. So I give them a B+ for effort.
  • Give them this season to see how it works. The damage done by players no longer on the team was substantial. I have heard several fans say they will not go to a game as long as Tinsley is playing. I have to inform them he is not. Winning will definitely bring in the fans, but I would bet more will show after football season. The Colts are the hot ticket and only a hot Pacers team will draw people away.
  • Tinsley may not be playing but he's still drawing a paycheck signed by Herb Simon. The Pacers' ineptitude in trading Jamal Tinsley is still wrankling a lot of fans. And the blame for this starts right at the top. Free Tinsley, free the cap space, show there's a real plan here for the future success of this team, and more fans will come back.
  • The problem with the attendance figures is that they don't really reflect attendance but rather tickets sold. I went to the Pacers/Magic game last Friday, which was a fun, exciting game event though the Pacers lost in overtime. The announced attendance was about 14,000 but there could not have been more than 8,000 at Conseco.

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