Home Wins Are Mounting, but Attendance Hasn’t Followed
Frank Vogel has a message for Pacers fans: Come out and see them play.
Fans have demanded a quality product and that’s just what they’ve been given. At 31-19, the Pacers have just one less win (and five more losses) than Eastern Conference leader Miami. They’ve also played four more games to this point, recently winning three games in three nights, the only team to have such a stretch all season.
Both the Pacers and Heat are dominant on their home floor, 20-3. But one big difference is that the Heat (in a soft sports market) are selling out games, attracting almost 20,000 per game, while the Pacers are 26th in the NBA in attendance, just above four losing teams–Sacramento, New Orleans, Detroit and Milwaukee.
The team is doing their part, beating teams like Miami (twice), New York, Chicago, and Atlanta in front of the home crowd, but only 14, 592 fans on average are showing up. Don’t get me wrong, those that have made it to games have made their presence felt … but it could be even better.
Have I mentioned that they’ve won 15 consecutive home games?
During his opening statement on Tuesday, following a 111-101 win over division-rival Chicago, Vogel looked straight ahead into the cameras, thus into the living rooms of thousands of fans across the state, and said: “I’m hopeful that all you Pacers fans sitting at home watching on TV start coming out and seeing us because this is a special team—and we’re playing at a special level.”
Later, I tweeted that quote and replies quickly followed.
MHSvideoguy: Good seats are 2 expensive, rather watch on tv than in nosebleeds! Still love the Pacers, hope 2 see one before seasons ends!
K_Matt_D: I would love to bring my family of 8 to a game but no way can I afford it
hyperrealdick: I have seen numerous games this season! Great times, great value and GREAT TEAM!
I’ve never liked to tell people how to spend their money, but ticket prices shouldn’t deter anyone from attending a game. The Pacers constantly offer affordable deals, like the All-Star six-pack–six games for as low as $72.
Over the offseason, owner Herb Simon shelled out over $16 million to enhance the in-game experience, including the large videoboard that extends foul line to foul line. The sound system is much improved and they’re testing free public WiFi. The Fieldhouse is the best arena in the league, but the atmosphere needs to improve.
How can you not get behind David West, who is the glue of the team and plays with a toughness every night that’s pleasing to watch?
How can you not get behind Paul George, who has worked his butt off behind the scenes, become a defensive-stopper and was named to his first All-Star game?
How can you not get behind Lance Stephenson, who nearly lived at the Fieldhouse in the offseason to get better, has grown up immensely, and proven that he can play in this league.
Those above are just examples–heck, I could write one for almost every player on the team. In the locker room, this collective group is one of the best I’ve seen in about a decade. And it starts with their leader, Frank Vogel, who believes they are on the brink of doing something very special.
“The offense is really starting to come. That’s what’s exciting because the way this group defends and the length that they have defensively, being the best defensive team in the NBA, to start scoring the ball the way we’re scoring it, we’ve got a real chance to do some special things this year. And they’re all good guys. I love coaching this team.”
Nine of their next 11 games are at home, giving the Pacers a tremendous opportunity to build on their record. Plus, Danny Granger’s much-anticipated debut could come as soon as next week, before All-Star break. Friday is your first opportunity to see them in action, when they host the Toronto Raptors at 7 PM EST.
Will you be there to witness it?