I was casually flipping through YouTube TV last night and stopped for a moment to watch La Salle vs. Temple, which was part of the Big 5 doubleheader at The Palestra. There was nobody in the stands and I kept thinking to myself, “shit, this is gonna be a topic on Thursday morning.

Sure enough:

They couldn’t even pull 4,000 people for a Big 5 doubleheader? The Palestra holds a little less than 9,000 when full, so the arena was less than 50% for these two games last night.

For comparison, the Barstool Invitational was played on a Friday night at The Wells Fargo Center and featured UAB, Toledo, Akron, and Mississippi State. Not exactly a marquee lineup of basketball powerhouses, but that pulled more folks than a Wednesday night doubleheader featuring all local squads.

I know these four teams aren’t what they used to be, and Villanova isn’t exactly off to a flying start in the Kyle Neptune era, but it wasn’t long ago that St. Joe’s was in the tournament and La Salle went to the Sweet 16 behind Tyrone Garland and The Southwest Philly Floater.

Eight years ago:

There are ebbs and flows to these things, as you’re seeing with the Flyers right now at the professional level. Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down, as the cyclical nature of sporting relevance guides our usage of the remote control and purchasing of tickets, or lack thereof. Still, with all that the Big 5 has meant to this city over the years, it’s pretty sad to look at this in a vacuum and realize that the juice just doesn’t seem to be there right now.