SBD/Issue 63/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NBA Paid Attendance Dip Leading To Significant Gate Receipt Drop

Pistons' Net Average Gate
Receipts Are Down 42.8%
NBA average paid attendance is down 3.7% "through the first quarter of the regular season, sending gate receipts plummeting" 7.4%, according to league documents cited by Ken Berger of Net gate receipts, "the money teams make from ticket sales, fell to an average of $828,985 per game, down from $894,823 at the same point last season," and only nine teams "were up or flat in average net gate receipts through Nov. 29." The decline in gate receipts reflects how "even teams with relatively healthy paid attendance -- such as the Mavericks, who are averaging 15,373 -- are suffering due to pricing pressure from the recession." The Mavericks' paid attendance is down 8.2%, but their gate receipts are down 15.9%. The "hardest-hit franchise so far" is the Pistons, whose net average gate receipts are "down a staggering 42.8[%] year-over-year." The Pistons "made an average of $537,263 per game on ticket sales through their first eight home games, down from $938,833 at the same point last season." The Hawks, who at 15-6 are "off to their best start in a decade," have seen a "league-high 26.8[%] increase in net gate receipts -- to $468,036 per game, up from $369,157 at this point last season." The numbers are "important because ticket revenue factors into the overall basketball-related income figure that is used to set the salary cap and luxury tax thresholds for next season." But NBA Senior VP/Marketing Communications Mike Bass said that gate receipts are "down less than the league projected." Bass: "The majority of our teams have held or lowered ticket prices this season, and all have introduced a number of creative, family-friendly ticket options in response to the financial difficulties our fans are facing. The response has been extremely positive as attendance is off slightly from last year, which was our third highest attendance in history" (, 12/9).

COULD BE WORSE: In Salt Lake City, Ross Siler reports the Jazz, who "ranked 14th in the league in gate receipts," have seen gate receipts decline 8.8% this season, to $888,478 per home game, from $974,551 last season. Jazz officials declined comment on the figures, but said that their business is "off a comparatively smaller amount than other industries are during the recession" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 12/11).

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