SBD/February 20, 2012/Franchises

76ers Ticket Sales On The Rise As Team Sees On-Court Success

Harris says all metrics are at or ahead of expectations in his first year of owning 76ers
Not even halfway through his first season as owner of the 76ers, Josh Harris "has to like the way things are going," according to John Finger of CSNPHILLY.com. Not only are the 76ers in first place in their division, but Harris said that ticket sales "are up" by 30% from last year. Before the 76ers' home game against the Mavericks Friday, Harris said, "The team winning is the biggest arbiter." Harris: "I want to win. But having said that I think we have a great basketball organization and a very experienced team. I am working through (team president Rod Thorn) and his team, and the reality of it is now having talked to a lot of people, there are no easy answers. You have to be opportunistic, you have to be on your toes. So we’re exploring all options." When asked about potentially using the team's amnesty clause next season on F Elton Brand, who "is owed" $18.1M in salary, Harris said, "For the right person, yes. Those are the kinds of things that if you do it and you do it wrong it puts you way back. You’ve got to be very careful but if it was a game changer we would consider that. It’s not something we’re afraid of. We’re a deep-pocketed, committed ownership group. But we’re going to be sensible about it. We’re not going to do that for anyone. It would have to be for someone really good" (CSNPHILLY.com, 2/17). In Philadelphia, Marc Narducci noted Harris "hasn't conducted many interviews, but he took some time before" Friday's game to "give his near-midway point state of the team." He said, "So far everything is at or ahead of expectations. ... Fans are starting to show up and we're 30 percent ahead of last year in terms of ticket sales." He added, "We're doing that with lower prices if you look, it is accelerating, and it is filling up great." Narducci noted the 76ers were "hoping to have a tribute to Whitney Houston," but team CEO Adam Aron "tweeted that at the request of the family, they declined." Aron tweeted, "Many have proposed we play Whitney Houston's national anthem as a tribute. We reached out to her family and they asked us NOT to do so" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/18).

SUPPORT THE PRODUCT: ESPN’s Magic Johnson said with the 76ers leading the Atlantic Division with a 20-12 record, “Hopefully, the city will come back out to watch this team, because it is a good team.” ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said, “I understand that attendance was still nothing.” Johnson: ‘You’ve got a great young team and then you’ve got a franchise who’s headed in the right direction, and they can build on that” (“NBA Countdown,” ESPN, 2/17).
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