Photo: Wikimedia Keith Allison
With LeBron James joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, there has been more early-season buzz surrounding the NBA than we have seen in many years. But so far, that buzz hasn’t translated into ticket sales.The Miami Heat have shown the biggest boost in attendance over a year ago. With James, the Heat are averaging 19,670 fans per game. That is almost 2,000 more tickets sold per game than a year ago (17,730).
But overall, attendance in the NBA is down for the second straight season, averaging just 16,957 fans per game (through Monday). That is down almost 200 tickets per game from a year ago and over 500 fewer than the 2008-09 season.
In terms of capacity, the NBA sold 91.1% of their tickets 2008-09. In 2009-10, that figure fell to 89.6%. And this season, NBA teams are drawing just 88.6% of capacity, leaving nearly 12% of all seats empty each night.
The big winners so far this season have been the Heat, and surprise, surprise, the Magic. Orlando is the only other team averaging at least a 1,000 more fans this season (18,884) than last year (17,461).
At the other end of the spectrum, there are five teams that are averaging at least 1,000 fewer fans this season and two of those are averaging over 2,000 fewer tickets sold. Trailing the pack are the Pistons who are averaging just 16,054 fans per game. That is 2,697 fewer than a year ago. The Atlanta Hawks are also struggling, with a drop in attendance of 2,480.
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