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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

Welcome to The Score, your place for hard-hitting sports business news, fast-breaking updates and fuel-injected debate.  Buckle up.  I'm your host, Anthony Schoettle, IBJ sports reporter.

Sports Business

Pacers faithful, ticket scalpers find reason to smile

November 12, 2009
KEYWORDS Sports Business

The Indiana Pacers picked a good time to start a winning streak. Just when the Blue and Gold looked like they were going to send fans running away from Conseco Fieldhouse with a stinker of a season, they show promise. Look out folks, we’re in the playoff race.

Ok, ok, I know we’re only six games in, but it’s never too early to speculate on how the season will shape up. And an 0-6 start—or worse—could have rung a financial death knell for a team still trying to find $15 million to operate Conseco Fieldhouse.

As it is, the team’s three-game win streak, and 3-3 overall record has caused a bit of a stir—dare I say buzz—among the Pacers faithful and even some of the not-so-faithful. Talking to the usual collection of ticket scalpers out front of Conseco Fieldhouse last night, there was a palpable excitement in the air.

“Our fortunes are turning,” one said with a broad smile.
 
Since I work less than a block north of the Fieldhouse, I see the scalpers on a regular basis and I haven’t seen a smile in a while.

The official Pacers attendance numbers are a case of a glass half full—or a glass half empty. The team’s average attendance through its first three home games is 13,507. That’s good for 27th in the 30-team league.
 
That’s up one spot over last year, when the team ranked 28th. Attendance last year for 41 home games was 14,182.

While the team is already 2,025 tickets behind last year’s pace, there’s reason for optimism. After all, there’s plenty of time to catch up and surpass last year’s average, and the last three games suddenly make that look possible.

The 10,682 that paid to watch last night’s game against Golden State is nothing to get too excited about. But marquee match-ups are on the way with Boston visiting Conseco Fieldhouse Saturday and Cleveland and LeBron James coming Nov. 20.

In-house, Danny Granger is emerging. Roy Hibbert and Tyler Hansbrough are playing better than most thought they would this early in the season.

And the scalpers are smiling—at least for now.
 

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