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Volume 27 No. 5
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Pelicans' Game Atmosphere Improving, But Attendance Still Lags

The arrival of Pelicans F Zion Williamson and the team's recent winning ways have transformed home games at Smoothie King Center into a "scene to experience rather than merely a place to hang out," according to Scott Kushner of NOLA.com. There are still "rows of empty seats in the corners of the upper bowl and tickets are cheap on the secondary market," but the "atmosphere is unquestionably improving." The "rapid evolution from a sleepy, depressing hangar to buzzing, thumping venue is notable." Smoothie King Center now is a "great place to watch basketball." However, even as attendance is growing, it is "impossible to escape the empty seats." Despite "selling more than 12,000 season tickets and recording a midseason turnaround," there are typically still "several upper bowl sections more than half empty and pockets of lower bowl seats left vacant, either because ticket-holders didn’t show up" or seats could not be sold in the first place. Perhaps the size of the crowds will "match the newfound energy after the All-Star break, when the stretch run toward the playoffs truly comes into focus" (NOLA.com, 2/12).