SBD/December 5, 2012/Franchises

Pistons Expect Financial Uptick Despite Slow Single-Game Ticket Sales

Courtside, suite sales have helped reduce the impact of slow single-game sales
The Pistons "expect to finish this season at least 10 percent better financially than last year" despite an 0-8 start that "devastated ticket sales" of individual games, according to Bill Shea of CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS. Palace Sports & Entertainment President & CEO Dennis Mannion said that strong group, courtside and suite sales have "helped at least partially offset the lack of single-game tickets being sold." But The Palace at Auburn Hills “can appear startlingly empty.” The reason for the “attendance problems is something the Pistons and pundits have long acknowledged: Fans simply don't buy tickets to watch a struggling team that plays in north Oakland County.” When the Pistons win, "fans come out.” The team “sold out every game” from ‘04 through ‘08. Mannion said, "The area that is up in the air in a big, big way is individual ticket sales. You count on that when you have a very small season ticket base." Shea noted the team's season-ticket base is “thought to have fallen off by 50 percent over the past five seasons.” But suite sales “are better than expected.” On the 100 level, “all but five of 50 suites are leased for the season,” while on 37 of 50 suites are leased "on the 200 level." Mannion said that the 300 level's 80 suites, at the top of the arena, "are a tougher proposition.” He added that Palace Sports “may convert 16 more of those 300-level suites into another club ... but that decision hasn't been made” (CRAINSDETROIT.com, 12/2).

NOT ALWAYS SUNNY? In New Jersey, Wes Szafran writes of the 76ers' average attendance of 15,592 through 10 home games, "If you sit inside the Wells Fargo Center during a Sixer game, it’s hard to believe there are that many people around you." In an "attempt to boost attendance during the holiday season, the Sixers have started selling 'Sixer Holiday Packs.'" The ticket packages, which start at $60, include a "pair of tickets to three different games, an autographed player photo and a $50 gift certificate to Golden Nugget Jewelers." Still, Szafran writes, "There's no obvious solution for what the Sixers can do to bring in more fans" (SOUTH JERSEY TIMES, 12/5).
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