SBD/March 8, 2011/Franchises

76ers Struggling To Draw Fans Despite On-Court Improvement

76ers draw fewer than 12,000 fans for recent game against Warriors
The 76ers "have transformed into an entertaining and winning basketball team that would typically get support from the locals," but that "isn't happening" yet, according to John Smallwood of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. The 76ers at 32-30 are two games above .500 for the "first time in almost 2 years" and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. But they rank 27th in the NBA in home attendance, drawing an average of 13,952 at Wells Fargo Center. If that pace continues, it "would be the lowest for a season" since 11,935 in '95-96. The team's 68.7% average home capacity also is "by far the lowest in the league." The announced attendance for Sunday's game against the Warriors was 11,294, and only 13,509 attended last Tuesday's game against the Mavericks -- "one of the top teams in the NBA." Smallwood notes one "argument for the attendance woes is that the Sixers don't have a superstar player." For "various reasons," F Andre Iguodala "never convinced the Philly public he was that level of player." The 76ers' "lack of 'superstar appeal' was enhanced when big-ticket free-agent signee Elton Brand failed to produce at All-Star levels during his first two seasons and when rookie Evan Turner, the No.2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, did not hit the NBA running." In addition, the 76ers are the "only NBA franchise that competes with six Division I basketball programs within a 30-mile radius," and a "lot of basketball fans prefer the college game to the professional." The 76ers "understand how they got into this predicament and know it's up to them to create a new energy around the franchise." 76ers Senior VP/Business Operations Lara Price: "We actually do feel like people are starting to take notice, because our television ratings are up. They are paying attention and we're starting to pick up some in the building" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/8).
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