Well, at least the Sixers are finally willing to admit that their tickets are essentially worthless.
Adam Aron hopped on* the WIP Morning Show today to defend his team’s attendance, ticket prices, play, injured stars and just about every other negative thing that could be said about a professional sports franchise. As always, he made his case with humor and candor, mostly. But. But I really can’t take the glass-half-full moral victory-isms that continuously come from the Sixers front office. Third most wins in NBA history. 15th most made three-pointers in NBA history. Seventh best in-arena popcorn in the Eastern Conference.
And now, a new one: Sixth biggest attendance increase in the NBA.
"Last year, as you know, the Sixers had the biggest attendance increase of all 30 teams in the NBA, year over year. And this year, we have the sixth biggest increase in attendance in the NBA, year over year."
I’ll buy it about last year. According to ESPN.com, the Sixers' 2011-2012 average attendance was 17,502, up from 14,751 in 2010-2011. But what was that about this season? Sixth biggest increase in the NBA? The Sixers’ 2012-2013 average attendance is 16,253, and that tells me – keep in mind, I was never very good at math – that the average attendance has actually decreased by 1,249, or 7%.
Now, I know attendance numbers are tricky. They can be sliced a hundred different ways and spit out 200 additional ways. Is it paid attendance? Actual attendance? Tickets sold? Tickets given out? Paying customers plus the posses, pussies, papas and assorted hangers-on of NBA stars? It’s safe to assume that ESPN’s numbers reflect paid attendance, which means that the Sixers are selling – at whatever full or discounted price – 16,253 tickets per game. But, obviously, not all of those people are showing up, a claim evidenced by the story of the knucklehead who bought 18 tickets for under a dollar and used only two of them, leaving the rest of the purchased row empty. Aron knows that (I think…), even if this is what he had to say on that particular matter:
“First of all, the way we played in the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night, I think the guy overpaid for the seats. But that’s a different issue. You know, we did sell those tickets at full price. So why somebody… who bought those tickets from us, at full price, would turn around and resell them for four cents, is a ridiculous way to use his tickets. But it’s a free country and he’s allowed to do what he wants to do.”
In case it’s not apparent: the reason people are selling their $10 tickets for less than pennies on the dollar (literally!) is because they were expecting a quality product, or an all-star center, or a team at or above .500. Instead, they’re getting confetti, Ayla Brown, and the occasional Big Mac.
*On Twitter, celebs, athletes, writers, bloggers etc. always say that they’re “hopping on” the radio. Hell, I’ve done it. But here’s what that translates to: I want to sound really cool and nonchalant about my appearance, so I’ll just say I’m hopping on, like it ain’t no thing. “Just taking out the trash, getting my oil changed and hopping on the radio. How’s your Tuesday? Probably not as cool as mine.”