Jazz See Lowest Attendance In More Than 20 Years, But Execs Not Overly Concerned
The Jazz enter play Friday with a 23-42 record, tied with the Lakers for the worst mark in the Western Conference, and average attendance for games has "dropped to the lowest the franchise has seen since moving out of the Salt Palace and into the Delta Center" in '91, according to Aaron Falk of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. The team is averaging 17,947 fans per game, though there "are often far fewer than that actually in the building." It marks a 4% decline from last year and a 9% drop from a peak of 19,908 six seasons ago when the team made the Western Conference semifinals. However, the drop "was not unexpected," as the Jazz "let four of its five top scorers from last year leave for free agency to make playing time for a younger, developing base." Jazz President Randy Rigby: "We anticipated that we would have a slight decline." Falk reports with nine home games left this season, team execs "have been happy with the numbers they’ve drawn." The Jazz have dropped to 14th in attendance, but are "still above the league average of 17,297." Among teams with losing records this season, only the Knicks, Lakers and Celtics "are drawing more fans." The Jazz have tried to "provide reminders of better times" for fans. A ceremony to honor Basketball HOFer Jerry Sloan earlier this year and the "planned reunion" of the '83-84 Jazz -- the first playoff team in franchise history -- later this month "have not purely been the products of coincidence" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 3/14).