Now, before we say something that we might regret, let’s go over the circumstances:
1. Ed has his panties in a bunch because the Sixers’ attendance is way down this year. (26th in the NBA)
2. Ed is further irked because he doesn’t understand why — “I think our team is a very entertaining team.”
3. And to make matters worse, no one else in the organization can figure it out; they’ve resorted to an online survey for assistance.
"We are working very hard to build our attendance and, you know, I don't think we could do a heck of a lot more than what we're doing. The Sixers staff are tearing their hair out trying to come up with the answers." (Ed Snider, Inky)Ok, so we can deduce that Ed was simply venting out of frustration. Have some sympathy. After all, he’s just trying to make some money people.
Let’s see if we can’t help.
There are obviously a number of reasons for the Sixers’ dwindling attendance, not the least of which is a team that hasn’t surpassed mediocre in four years. However, the more glaring problem (and a likely cause of the former) is how terrible the Sixers organization is at making attending Sixers’ games fun.
This is a two part problem. The first is a result of the in-game atmosphere at the Wac Center, which is abysmal. Directly correlated is the second, which is the organization’s horrendous job of attracting the type of fans who make games fun to attend.
Face it. At this point, watching the game at a bar is more exciting than going to the game. That’s pretty bad. It’s depressingly quiet at the Wac — and that’s letting them off easy. People don’t know when to cheer. Hip-Hop is gayer than Christmas. You get dirty looks if you stand up to cheer after a made three. And it’s been like this as long as we can remember.
If only Ed wasn’t an idiot and the president of the most unprofessionally run company in America, he might have a shot of realizing the team needs to get young people (young adults, not second-graders) to the games to make them fun again. Games that are fun are games that the crowd is really into, similar to college games, where loud student sections make their presence felt, routinely standing throughout the game.
Stop having promotions for the first 5,000 kids 12 and under. Instead, have a college night. Stop wasting all your attention on corporations, whose seats go to disinterested suits 95% of time. Instead, take a page from Sacramento (and their 300 consecutive sellouts, rabid, non-corporate fans, who cheer when they’re 18 down like they just tied the game with a three, and collegiate atmosphere) and focus on the individuals. Soon as fans start making noise again, the games will be attractive and fun, and therefore, the demand to attend will once again increase. Then, you can charge even more for your precious corporate suites.
It’s not rocket science, Ed. It might not be politically correct to say that your arena should stop tying to be the most family friendly, but it’s the truth. The atmosphere at your team’s games is so apathetic, we think our grandmother could step in and do a better job.
Get young adults there in force. Not only will you sell more seats, but you’ll also give your team the home court advantage they deserve. (Iverson loves it when the crowd gets behind him. Do you know how disheartening it must be for him to play in such a lame arena?)
Why do think Phil Jackson is so annoyed by Mark Cuban? (Jackson: “Consider a place like Dallas, where the owner runs around, pumps up the volume, intimidates the referees and ... has announcers as hired cheerleaders, which is an intimidating force.”) Because he’s made Dallas a rowdy and menacing place in which to play. And what do you know… Dallas just won their 15th straight home game, a new team record, against, wait for it, yep, your 76ers. Do you think that’s a coincidence?
In the end, Ed, it’s not the city’s fault your attendance is down. It’s your fault for focusing your attention on fans that don’t care and ignoring the consequences for too long.
Hire a new director of marketing and fan relations — someone that’s not an idiot — and you’ll see results.
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Earlier: Ed Snider and Billy King to Wed
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