When Lebron James appeared on “The Decision,” much of the criticism leveled against him centered on how he had backstabbed the Cavaliers and their fans and how he may have destroyed a franchise.
But if the first few weeks of the NBA season are any indication, Cleveland appears to be rallying around their team like never before.
But more importantly is how the fan base continues to show up to Cavs games despite the lack of a star player and no hope of being a title contender in the next few years. After three home games, the Cavs are one of just nine teams to sell out each of their games. And while it is just three games, the Cavs are second in the league in attendance (20,562 per game), trailing only the Chicago Bulls.
The Cavs are even outdrawing the Miami Heat by almost a 1,000 fans per game, although the Cavs do have the advantage of playing in a larger arena.
But can Cleveland keep up the pace?
Despite a lack of success in professional sports, Cleveland is usually a very good sports town. Last year the Browns finished 15th in NFL attendance despite going 5-11. But the Indians were dead last in MLB attendance this season and have finished in the bottom-third eight straight years.
The true test will come next season. The Cavs forced their season-ticket holders to gamble on Lebron’s return by requiring renewals to be made in March, four months before “The Decision.” Deposits on season-tickets were also required for playoff seating priority. Will those same fans be willing to renew next season?
So far, the city and the fans appear to be rallying around their team. But their love of all-things Cleveland will once again be tested when the fans realise the Cavs are just another mediocre NBA team with little chance of winning.
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