Pacers set to score 28 sellouts; attendance up 15 percent

April 9, 2014
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Whether the Indiana Pacers' on-court performance this season is deemed a success is very much up for debate. There’s a feeling within the team and among fans that anything short of a trip to the NBA Finals would be a failure.

Excuse the sales and marketing team, though, if they pop the cork on the champagne.

Not that sales boss Todd Taylor and his staff don’t care how the Pacers fare in the playoffs. A deep playoff run certainly makes their jobs easier heading into next season. And the extra revenue from playoff tickets, concessions and other ancillary sales is certainly welcome.

But for the sales team, it’s already mission accomplished. Taylor and his staff should take a moment to smell the roses.

Consider how far this franchise has come. Yes, the team and its performance on the court have an awful lot to do with that, but don’t sell short the sales job.

The Pacers will have sold out 28 games as of their last regular-season game April 13. That’s the most since the 41 of the 1999-2000 season, when the Pacers moved into Bankers Life Fieldhouse (then Conseco Fieldhouse) and went to the NBA finals. That's 18 more sellouts than last season and more than the last three seasons combined.

Average attendance is third-highest since the Pacers made their home at the fieldhouse—717,542 fans through the gates this season for an average of 17,501 for the 41 home games. Sunday's home finale against Oklahoma City will be a sellout. This year's home attendance is a 15 percent increase over last season's per-game average of 15,270.

The sales staff will never match the fieldhouse attendance record because, a few years back, the team expanded an entertainment area and reduced capacity from 18,345 to 18,165.

That said, the Pacers are filling the fieldhouse to an average of 96.3 percent of capacity this season. The Pacers are set to finish 15th of 30 NBA teams in attendance and 12th in percentage of seats sold at its home venue. That’s a major jump from just three years ago.

To fully appreciate the road the Pacers’ sales staff has traveled, look back just a few short years. During the 2011-12 season, the year Taylor left the Texas Rangers for the Pacers, home attendance averaged 14,169 and only six games sold out. During the 2007-08 season, the Pacers had just one sellout and average home attendance was an NBA-worst 12,222.

The sales staff during the last two years unleashed myriad promotions and discounts. One was variable ticket pricing, meaning prices in certain areas fluctuate based on overall ticket demand, popularity of the opponent, and night of the week a game was played.

The personal contact between Pacers sales staffers and season and group ticket buyers is also way up, said Taylor, who often compares the relationship between a team and its ticket buyers to a “courtship leading up to a happy, long-term marriage.”

All this success has team owner Herb Simon wondering if the Pacers can sell out all their home games next season. That’s a tall order, admitted Taylor, “But that’s the goal.”

As for the playoffs, Taylor predicted sellouts of the home games.

If all goes well, that could be as many as 14 to 16 more home games. Of course, if the Pacers sweep some playoff opponents, it could be fewer than that.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, especially with the team struggling to find itself on the court of late.

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  • good to see
    its good to see this and good to see that Chief has not trasehd this story too. YET
  • Playoffs
    They have some friendlier packages especially the pay after each round for playoff tickets. They were really arrogant toward season ticket holders back in 2001-2004 which really turned many of us away when the team stumbled. But I, like many, decided to come back during the Knicks series last year and the performance against the Heat just reinforced that we had a contender. So I am just saying winning is critical - the most important thing. And the last 2 months have been dreadful. They have locked many of us up for next year already. But if they lose in the 1st or 2nd round and then fall apart next year - it will be 2015-16 when it shows up - and it won't be pretty.
  • Compared To What?
    Ersal Ozdemir is predicting an average attendance at Indy Eleven games at 17,500. That is one less than the Pacers averaged this year and more than four times the average for National American Soccer League games in 2013. Anyone taking bets on that?
    • This season
      I disagree with the sentiment that the sales and marketing team are already celebrating this year and focused in on next season. I worked in the marketing department for the Pacers for a year and these men and women bleed blue and gold. Most of them could work anywhere but choose to work for the Pacers because they know how much influence the team has in our community. On and off the court. The team has played great. Ticket sales and sponsorship are also going well. But I guarantee you the sales and marketing folks aren't satisfied with just selling tickets. They want their team to bring home a championship. The job isn't over until that happens.
    • Great Service
      I have had a 1/2 season package for the last 2 years and am very satisfied with the results. The cost is fair and the service and attention I've received by the staff, in particular Alex Krows, has been far more than I would have expected. Whatever the approach is, keep doing it. It's great to see when someone cares about their job.
    • 17500 vs 17501
      When will you people just accept that soccer is the sport of the future?? It is as inevitable as flying cars. I'm just not sure where they'll park all those flying cars if we don't buy the Eleven a new stadium.
      • Sport of Future?
        I'm assuming Robbie firmly has his tongue in cheek. I played high school soccer in the 1970s and collegiately at Ball State. It's been the "sport of the future' for 40 years! While there's certainly been a big increase for the 9 year olds, I'm not sure if Pro Soccer will really take hold here. If they average 5,000 they should feel lucky!

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