Pizza pumps up Pacers attendance

December 17, 2008
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donatosThe Indiana Pacers are climbing the NBA attendance ladder—at a surprisingly brisk rate. With deals like the one the team unveiled this week, it’s no wonder. The team is now offering $3 tickets. That’s about as cheap as it gets for an NBA game—without actually giving tickets away.

The Pacers latest promotion, the Pizza Pack Deal delivered by Donatos, is an offer for two balcony tickets for 10 games for $60. Plus you get a free medium one-topping Donatos pizza. The games included in the package aren’t blockbusters, but there are some solid opponents in the mix including Detroit, Atlanta and Miami. Shoot, the pizza alone is worth $10. So technically, you’re getting tickets for $2.50 each. You can’t get into a junior high game for that. The deal also offers two club-level tickets for the same 10 games running from Dec. 30 through April 8 for $500. That’s $25 per ticket. With that deal, you get a large pizza.

All teams in the NBA are racheting up promotions during this skinny economy, but no team has been more aggressive at filling their arena than the Pacers. And the league’s official attendance figures show the efforts are paying off. Through 10 home games, the Pacers are averaging 14,483 per game. While the Pacers rank only 25th in the 30-team league, well behind league-leading Detroit at 22,076 per game, they’re well ahead of last year’s 12,221 per-game average.

And more impressive, the Pacers have boosted their average from 13,595 per game after seven home games to its current average. That’s a pretty strong gain in three games. In that short stretch, the Pacers have climbed past Minnesota and put some distance between them and the other attendance bottom feeders.

Yes, there’s still the question of devaluing the price of tickets long-term and decreasing revenue due to all the sub-prime ticket sales. Still, you can’t fault the Pacers for standing pat and hoping things will get better.
  • The attendance figures also aren't taking into account that there are about 3000 comps per game they give out to prospects that have no intention of buying ticket plans and are just using their ticket staff for freebies and that there are trade-out tickets for sponsors, etc. The season opener wasn't a sell-out like they say. I was at the game and there were at least 2000 empty seats in the arena. So the attendance increases are highly misleading.

    This team is practically giving tickets away and providing no incentives for customers to buy season ticket plans in the future. The Pacers, like many other sports organizations, are reactionary and looking for short-term success instead of looking at the big picture.
  • Naptown Man,

    Really? I am one of those prospects and I bought one of those ticket plans just recently. Not only that, I've had several other people express interest in the same deal because it IS a great deal.

    It is a great deal both the lower level and upper levels and a wise move by the Pacers. Get fans in the seats, get them used to supporting the Pacers again. That's the only true way to win them back. Get them in the door any way you can. They are a solid young team and have a nice foundation for the next few years.

    You seem to be saying that this move by the Pacers has no positive, long term effect. That is not logical at all. When you get the fans, both die-hards and fringe fans back in the door and give them a good experience, many of them will reconsider their Pacers allegience. We've been pushed away by the antics, the injuries, the staleness of the previous era... that era ended this past offseason. So a new tactic and a new team is the new Pacers product and they need fans to see it.

    Conseco was once again voted the #1 overall Arena in the NBA. It is a great place to see a game. It is a fun team to watch too. Exciting, up tempo players and Danny Granger alone is worth the price of admission. Add in some very affordable tickets during some crazy economic times and the Pacers are one of the best entertainment options dollar for dollar you can do in Indy right now.

    $60 2-TICKET PACKAGE FOR 10 GAMES in the Upper Level!!! Thats 20 tickets for 60 bucks!


    $500 for 2-TICK PACKAGE in the Club Level! Face, that's almost $2,200 dollars, a steal.

    After the Toughest Strength of Schedule to start in the NBA and playing competitively in almost every game (about 5+ they should have won), they will get more comfortable together and only improve.

    So Naptown Man, what should the Pacers be doing? Nothing? They did a massive roster overhaul, are winning fans back, have some pieces to work with, some future Salary Space to manuever around, and are thinking long-term. You are faulting them by trying to win fans back by lowering the ticket prices during this economy and for a young team. To me it is the ONLY move they can make.

    This is a genius move by the Pacers. It worked for me. I can honestly say, THE INDIANA PACERS ARE WINNING ME BACK!
  • Anthony,

    Those games are actually pretty decent.

    Hawks: The best Hawks team since Dominique
    Pistons: Rival
    Bucks: Yell at Sampson for 2 hours
    Wolves: Garbage
    76ers: Brand and a new-look team
    Grizzlies: Indy's Conley
    Jazz: Playoff team
    Heat: Wade
    Bulls: Rival & Rose
    Raptors: Jermaine and our big trade partner

    Not a bad mix of games really.
  • Well, these sorts of promotions have worked for the Indians, here's hoping they work for the Pacers. Actually, though, the Indians rarely, if ever offered discounts this deep. Weird, you can go see the Pacers cheaper than you can go see a AAA baseball team.
  • And they've also had these Web Wednesday deals where balcony seats are $5 and club are $10. login to I've not bought any because I've already got my BigSlam Season Ticket.

    Pacers are doing everything they can to get people to come see them...and I think that is great. More and more people are talking positive about the Blue and Gold - and the reality is there record stinks. But the effort and competitiveness are there - so fans are responding.

    The biggest problem I see is that because the tickets are inexpensive, it's easy to blow off the games. Tonight for example, with bad weather and roads, I might just stay home and watch on TV. Game time decision.
  • Well, the Indians aren't working against some other issues that the Pacers previously had (incidents with players killing the reputation of the team). And Indians tickets are already inexpensive... any deep price discount of an Indians game would require them to pay people to come to the game. Also, when you go to an Indians game, you get to be, an added experience.

    The Pacers can't have a game outdoors, they're trying to get people back after their image got killed the past couple seasons (because of certain players that are now gone), and a full price Pacers ticket is way more than an Indians ticket. You can pay $12 and sit in the 1st row behind home plate... a full price Pacers ticket in the first row is about 50 times that cost ($601 according to the website at Season ticket cost, $650 for individual game). So, by doing these deep discounts they're trying to get fans to try and give the team another chance. Also, these discounts will not get you in the lower level section... you want those tickets, you're still going to have to pay much, much more. These discounts (referenced in this blog) are just for the balcony and club levels. So, it's not devaluing the lower level tickets... just the club and balcony.

    So, I applaud the Pacers for trying to win the city back with these kinds of promotions. It may devalue tickets in the short-term, but if someone really likes the experience they will pay more the next year to come back. Yeah, some won't... but as CreamCrimson said, should they just sit back and do nothing... and hope that people will just come back? No.. that would be the dumbest thing the Pacers could do.
  • It's good to see the Pacers trying to attract basketball fans again. They killed themselves by pricing us out, and going solely after the corporate crowd. The Colts are now doing the same thing, and they'd better take note. Reggie is gone, and Peyton will be too some day and the Colts will need us again to fill their house.
  • Come on guys, get out there and see some games like the good old days. The Pacers are not as good,(as they were 10 years ago) but they do seem to give it everything they have. Indy needs to prove we can fill 2 stadiums on a regular basis.
  • It is simple suppy and demand. The demand isn't high so the Pacers are offering great discounts. Take advantage now. You are always going to have that person that just points out the negatives like Naptown Man. The article is about great discounts and attendance jumping and he points out his negative views on their attendance. I think Indy is lucky to have three great organizations like the Indians, Colts and Pacers. The Pacers had their problems with players, but it looks like that is over. I proudly support all three teams and organizations.
  • I'm not just pointing out the negatives. I'm attempting weigh all sides of the issue instead of drinking the kool-aid. You would think if there were more people like you guys defending the Pacers that they would have had more than 11,000 in the building last night. If there was such an interest in Pacers tickets, then why have they let go of some of their sales staff and had others leave voluntarily within the last month?

    I have no problem with discounted tickets, but you are giving your most loyal fans the shaft at the same time. The fans that were willing to make the commitment and buy an 11-game or 20-game plan for full price are getting jammed because of all these discounts. Discounts are fine, but you can't give them away. Many fans appreciate that this team plays hard and have better character guys, but playing hard and being nice guys don't pay the rent so to speak. Most fans know this team is not a playoff team even when Dunleavy comes back.
  • For the last time, folks, the people at Jonestown didn't die from drinking Kool-Aid. It was Flavor-Aid. For the love of all that is holy, let's get it straight.
  • Hey Naptown Man... 11-game, 20-game and season ticket holders aren't getting the shaft completely as you would say... if you look at this 10-game package, not a single one of these 10 games is a weekend game. Every one of the 10 games for this deal are on either a Tuesday night or a Wednesday night... so, they're only doing this with nights that aren't popular for people to go out. So, I suggest looking at the deal a little more closely; and not be so upset that you paid full price for an 11-game, 20-game, etc. package... because I'm sure you're package includes some Friday, Saturday or Sunday games... and this 10 game deal does not.
  • Hey Naptown Man,

    You have to applaud the Pacers for attempting to bring fans back. I understand your view points, but the Pacers are one of the best managed small-market clubs in the NBA and I trust them in their practices. As a huge Pacers fan I'm going to buy a plan next season, and if they continue to discount tickets I will not feel shafted, because I'm supporting a team I love.

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