SBD/March 27, 2012/Franchises

Pacers Second-To-Last In NBA Attendance Despite Strong On-Court Performance

Pacers have struggled to draw fans this season despite winning record
Despite currently having the fifth-best record in the NBA Eastern Conference this season to date, the success “hasn't manifested itself yet in fannies in those seats” at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, according to Bob Kravitz of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Coming into last night, the Pacers' TV and radio ratings “are up,” but the team “had the second-worst attendance in the league,” behind only the Nets. And that is “in a city that professes to love basketball in all its myriad forms.” Kravitz: “If you're not sold on this team, now 29-19 and eighth best in the NBA ... there's no hope for this franchise.” They are “selling more tickets per game in places where abominable teams play.” Pacers F Danny Granger said, "Sometimes, yeah, I look up in the stands and think, 'Man, we play in other buildings where teams aren't nearly as good as us, and they have more fans.' It's a little confusing sometimes. But it's not something we can worry about.” Pacers G George Hill “rolled his eyes when it was mentioned the Pacers were averaging 13,734 coming into a Heat game when they fell just short of a sellout.” Hill said, “Sometimes, it seems like there are more like 6,000-7,000 people. But I understand. We haven't done anything yet. We have to keep winning on a consistent basis. We have to do more than just get to the playoffs” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/27).

HOLD THE PRESSES: Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, Wells & Wilson reported Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird “is denying a New York Post story saying he has decided to step down at the end of the season.” Bird said, "No decision has been made. End of story.” Pacers Owner Herb Simon said Friday, “I talk to Larry every day. He has not said anything to me about leaving. He can stay here as long as he wants" (INDYSTAR.com, 3/24).
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