How long can Pacers afford steep ticket discounts?

December 8, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Pacers sales staff is coming out of the gate firing this season.

For the team’s home opener on Dec. 26, the Pacers are offering tickets for $5.

As some of The Score’s Twitter followers pointed out, that’s cheaper than a minor league baseball or high school basketball game.

The Pacers are offering good seats for $15 and really good, lower level seats for $40 for the home opener against Detroit.

With the fans still smarting from the lockout it’s a smart move. Fans have to know they’re appreciated. The fans also have to know that part of what the NBA owners are saving (a combined $280 million annually) with the new collective bargaining agreement is going to go to them.

But many sports economists doubt whether the new agreement governing NBA player salaries will result in long-term ticket price reductions, especially in small markets like Indianapolis.

The poorest NBA teams are losing $17 million—or more—annually.

Once you take the $280 million and spread it over 30 teams, teams like the Pacers aren’t going to get all their annual losses back.

The owners are supposed to sit down in the next few weeks to hash out a more generous revenue sharing plan.

But league insiders said the likely best scenario for a team like the Pacers is bringing them near break even while allowing them a slightly better chance to compete against large market teams for star free agents.

“Though this deal is viewed as a win for owners, many of them didn’t get what they wanted,” said Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based sports business consultancy SportsCorp Ltd, which counts several NBA teams as clients. “Teams like the Pacers may have barely got what they needed.

“This deal may help [the Pacers] be more competitive and financially sustainable, but only with excellent management. These owners wanted a 7 percent to 8 percent operating margin. With this new deal, the best case scenario is break even.”

As the Pacers have worked to rebuild their roster into a playoff contender, the team’s sales staff has been among the league’s most aggressive in promotions and price discounts. But as the team starts to play better, those steep ticket discounts will likely evaporate.

“Long-term ticket price reductions is a fairy tale, but I think NBA owners realize they have to show fans some appreciation for bearing with them through the lockout,” said Notre Dame sports economist Richard Sheehan.

ADVERTISEMENT
  • How long? just until the big trade
    I think the preseason and Opening night game was a good promotion for the Pacers to open with a bang and get Pacer AND NBA season off to a big start.

    Once Pacers get back on everyone's radar that this team has talent and the addition of George Hill, that this team will be a good team to watch.

    Then once the big trade goes thru.... all that momentum in a short season should negate any reason to discount more. (What big trade? who knows - but there probably will be one)

    And with only 66 games, the Pacers will probably never get too far out of playoff contention.

Post a comment to this blog

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT