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TheSauceMaster
05-07-2004, 05:21 AM
By Mike Chappell
mike.chappell@indystar.com
May 7, 2004


Donnie Walsh realized regaining the trust and support of leery fans would be a season-long venture for the Indiana Pacers.

"I knew there was going to be a certain wait-and-see attitude about our team this year," said the Pacers CEO, aware of the damage done by three consecutive first-round postseason exits.

Walsh's patience was put to the test when the Pacers failed to sell out either of their first-round Eastern Conference games in Conseco Fieldhouse against the Boston Celtics. But it finally was alleviated Thursday when the Pacers opened their second-round series against Miami.

After five straight non-sellouts in the postseason, 18,345-seat Conseco Fieldhouse was packed. Credit strong sales in the past few days. Approximately 2,700 tickets remained unsold Monday afternoon and the figure still hovered around 1,300 on Wednesday. Saturday's Game 2 also is sold out.

Earlier this week, Walsh admitted he was concerned by the lack of first-round sellouts. Yes, he allowed, the economy continues to pinch fans' wallets even though the Pacers haven't raised ticket prices since after their trip to the NBA Finals in 2000. And, yes, a first-round pairing with No. 8 seed Boston was a tough sell.

But in Walsh's mind, the Pacers had atoned for their past sins.

"I think we answered all the questions," he said.

The Pacers set a franchise record with an NBA-best 61 wins during the regular season. Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest were All-Stars. O'Neal finished third in the MVP voting. Artest was named Defensive Player of the Year.

Yet seats were available at the fieldhouse when Boston visited.

Walsh said the team's marketing department was in overdrive as the playoffs approached.

"We were out there -- billboards and signs and radio and television," he said. "Everyone's talking about it."

Indianapolis' Keith Woodard and his wife, Leah Bryant, were season-ticket holders during the regular season but decided to wait until Tuesday to buy tickets for Game 1 of the Heat-Pacers series.

"It was a matter of timing," Woodard said. "We didn't know who they would be playing. So we waited until we found out."

Woodard and Bryant were part of the raucous sellout crowd that jammed the fieldhouse Thursday night. The objective was realized -- a sellout and a Pacers victory. It made a prophet of Reggie Miller.

"We've got to hold up our end of the bargain," the veteran guard said earlier this week. "If we continue to win, then I'm sure people will come out."

Fans in Miami have stoked the Heat's playoff fire. The team averaged 20,181 in four first-round games against New Orleans in the 19,600-seat AmericanAirlines Arena. Games 3 and 4 against the Pacers, set Monday and Wednesday, are sold out.

Not that it eased Walsh's concerns, but the Pacers weren't the only team that had trouble with first-round ticket sales. Of the 39 first-round games, 10 failed to sell out.

The Western Conference's top seed, the Minnesota Timberwolves, sold out only one of their three first-round home games and fell short in the opener of their second-round matchup against Sacramento in the 19,006-seat Target Center.

Jason LaFrenz, the Timberwolves' director of marketing, admitted one sellout in four postseason games by a team that features league MVP Kevin Garnett "is a little surprising."

"But being in the Western Conference, we get the late start time," said LaFrenz. "Our games start at 8:30 and don't get over until after midnight. That has hindered us."

Saturday night's Game 2 is sold out and LaFrenz anticipates a similar result for all remaining games at the Target Center.

Tracking ticket sales

Here's a breakdown of how many first- and second-round playoff games have sold out. Included are the matchup, the number of games in the series and the number of sellouts:

Round 1
Games Sellouts
Eastern Conference
Celtics-Pacers 4 0
Bucks-Pistons 5 4
Hornets-Heat 7 5
Knicks-Nets 4 3
Western Conference
Nuggets-Timberwolves 5 3
Rockets-Lakers 5 5
Grizzlies-Spurs 4 4
Mavericks-Kings 5 5

Round 2
Games Sellouts
Eastern Conference
Heat-Pacers 1 1
Nets-Pistons 1 1
Western Conference
Lakers-Spurs 2 2
Kings-Timberwolves 1 0

ABADays
05-07-2004, 06:56 AM
So can we put this tired, old debate to bed now.

Natston
05-07-2004, 09:42 AM
So can we put this tired, old debate to bed now.

NEVER!!!

Unclebuck
05-07-2004, 09:51 AM
Yes I am tired of this debate also.

However I was at the game last night and that was not a sellout, I don't care what the pacers organization says.


There were several rows in the Club level completely empty, rows of 7 or 8 on the Miami end, and there were a couple of hundred empty seats in "Jays" section that were empty. Comparable areas in the other 4 corners were completely filled.

there is a diference between no shows and seats that are not sold, , when you see a section where 50 seats are empty in one area, those seats are not sold.

Not that this matters.

Kid Minneapolis
05-07-2004, 09:57 AM
My opinion is that not many people were too interested in seeing Indy beat up on the Celtics in the first round.

BillS
05-07-2004, 10:26 AM
Yes I am tired of this debate also.

However I was at the game last night and that was not a sellout, I don't care what the pacers organization says.


There were several rows in the Club level completely empty, rows of 7 or 8 on the Miami end, and there were a couple of hundred empty seats in "Jays" section that were empty. Comparable areas in the other 4 corners were completely filled.

there is a diference between no shows and seats that are not sold, , when you see a section where 50 seats are empty in one area, those seats are not sold.

Not that this matters.

I think the test is whether you can get the tickets through Ticketmaster.

For instance, I'd bet a block of tickets in the middle of a section are broker-purchased. There is a gap between a game popular enough to sell out at the box office and a game popular enough where people are calling the brokers for tickets.

In other words, if I call Ticketmaster and can't get a ticket for the Heat, I might decide just to watch it on TV. If I am trying to get a ticket for the Finals, I'm going to call everyone and his brother trying to get a ticket.

Since the brokers aren't an obvious second choice on any of the typical "casual fan ticket purchase" sites (consecofieldhouse.com, nba.com, etc.) then - though the tickets are "sold" from Pacer perspective - the seats won't have butts in them unles people are more than casual in looking for tickets or unless a lot of people are outside the arena trying to get in.

NewYawk
05-07-2004, 11:47 AM
So can we put this tired, old debate to bed now.

No. For Indiana to have trouble selling playoff tickets, even though they feature the best team in the NBA and an MVP candidate, is pathetic. I have serious doubts as to whether the Pacers have a STRONG fanbase in Indiana. For whatever reason, Hoosiers stay at home when the best best basketball players in their state suit up. :unimpressed: So much for the "Basketball State" label.

Shade
05-07-2004, 11:51 AM
So can we put this tired, old debate to bed now.

No. For Indiana to have trouble selling playoff tickets, even though they feature the best team in the NBA and an MVP candidate, is pathetic. I have serious doubts as to whether the Pacers have a STRONG fanbase in Indiana. For whatever reason, Hoosiers stay at home when the best best basketball players in their state suit up. :unimpressed: So much for the "Basketball State" label.

We're just aclimated to bigger things. It's the "Atlanta Braves" syndrome. We're fully expected to take the first two rounds with ease, and with the poor shape the economy is in (and gas prices certainly don't help), some fans are saving up for ECF/Finals tickets instead (like myself). There's no big secret about that. Sheesh, people, relax. If this continues into the next round, THEN I'll worry.

NewYawk
05-07-2004, 12:19 PM
So can we put this tired, old debate to bed now.

No. For Indiana to have trouble selling playoff tickets, even though they feature the best team in the NBA and an MVP candidate, is pathetic. I have serious doubts as to whether the Pacers have a STRONG fanbase in Indiana. For whatever reason, Hoosiers stay at home when the best best basketball players in their state suit up. :unimpressed: So much for the "Basketball State" label.

We're just aclimated to bigger things. It's the "Atlanta Braves" syndrome. We're fully expected to take the first two rounds with ease, and with the poor shape the economy is in (and gas prices certainly don't help), some fans are saving up for ECF/Finals tickets instead (like myself). There's no big secret about that. Sheesh, people, relax. If this continues into the next round, THEN I'll worry.

That's a B.S. excuse. Regardless of expectations, the fans should attend the games. Otherwise, they aren't really fans, and the strength of your fanbase is called into question. For a state that claims basketball is in their blood, you are not looking like basketball fans right now. Actually, you look like a bunch of fickle whiners, waiting for the team to hand you a championship before you decide to spend your money on them.

I know that sounds harsh, but I used to live in Indiana. The whole "Hoosier Hysteria" over basketball thing is highly overrated. If your state were TRULY a basketball state, the Pacers would sell out their playoff games. Simple as that.

ABADays
05-07-2004, 12:26 PM
Otherwise, they aren't really fans

Excuse me!

MagicRat
05-07-2004, 12:27 PM
If your state were TRULY a basketball state, the Pacers would sell out their playoff games. Simple as that.

Last night's game was a sell-out. Simple as that.....

beast23
05-07-2004, 01:59 PM
So can we put this tired, old debate to bed now.

No. For Indiana to have trouble selling playoff tickets, even though they feature the best team in the NBA and an MVP candidate, is pathetic. I have serious doubts as to whether the Pacers have a STRONG fanbase in Indiana. For whatever reason, Hoosiers stay at home when the best best basketball players in their state suit up. :unimpressed: So much for the "Basketball State" label.No, NY. We have a very strong fan base.

We just have a crappy economy right now.

Shade
05-07-2004, 02:09 PM
So can we put this tired, old debate to bed now.

No. For Indiana to have trouble selling playoff tickets, even though they feature the best team in the NBA and an MVP candidate, is pathetic. I have serious doubts as to whether the Pacers have a STRONG fanbase in Indiana. For whatever reason, Hoosiers stay at home when the best best basketball players in their state suit up. :unimpressed: So much for the "Basketball State" label.

We're just aclimated to bigger things. It's the "Atlanta Braves" syndrome. We're fully expected to take the first two rounds with ease, and with the poor shape the economy is in (and gas prices certainly don't help), some fans are saving up for ECF/Finals tickets instead (like myself). There's no big secret about that. Sheesh, people, relax. If this continues into the next round, THEN I'll worry.

That's a B.S. excuse. Regardless of expectations, the fans should attend the games. Otherwise, they aren't really fans, and the strength of your fanbase is called into question. For a state that claims basketball is in their blood, you are not looking like basketball fans right now. Actually, you look like a bunch of fickle whiners, waiting for the team to hand you a championship before you decide to spend your money on them.

I know that sounds harsh, but I used to live in Indiana. The whole "Hoosier Hysteria" over basketball thing is highly overrated. If your state were TRULY a basketball state, the Pacers would sell out their playoff games. Simple as that.

You seem to have missed my point.

The economy is NOT a BS excuse for those with little money, like myself. So, instead of attending a couple of cheaper games in a round where the outcome is supposed to be obvious, I'd rather save my money on a more expensive game in a later round where the outcome is more in doubt. After all, that's where the team will need the most support from its fans anyway. I will be attending at least one ECF game, and quite possibly a Finals game if we get that far.

Don't call me a fake fan because I put surviving ahead of attending a basketball game on my priorities list. :rolleyes:

Southside_Pacer
05-07-2004, 02:35 PM
The last thing anybody should do is saying if a person doesn't do such and such, then he/she is not a real fan.

That's something that we all need to get away from. We're all fans at this site, we all love the Pacers (well, minus the Pistons fans, DisplacedKnick, and DipperDunk ;) ) and we all love the team.

Hicks
05-07-2004, 03:57 PM
Otherwise, they aren't really fans

Excuse me!

Seconded. No one has any business telling someone else they aren't a true fan; at the very least in HERE of all places.

Slick Pinkham
05-07-2004, 04:33 PM
You'll find a higher percentage of "true fans" cheering on their team at a sports bar than you do in the corporate luxury boxes at many NBA arenas. There is a "be seen at a costly event" factor that has nothing to do with interest or even knowledge about basketball.

BigMac
05-07-2004, 10:28 PM
Yes I am tired of this debate also.

However I was at the game last night and that was not a sellout, I don't care what the pacers organization says.


There were several rows in the Club level completely empty, rows of 7 or 8 on the Miami end, and there were a couple of hundred empty seats in "Jays" section that were empty. Comparable areas in the other 4 corners were completely filled.

there is a diference between no shows and seats that are not sold, , when you see a section where 50 seats are empty in one area, those seats are not sold.



Not that this matters.

I debated about posting this but it's time to let it out. I know for a fact that the Pacers ticket office sits on around 200 club level seats. They do with those as they want-but are not released to the public. Most are sold to area ticket brokers or are held back for people buying season tickets. These 200 or so seats are still in their posession and the account managers can dole out the tickets as they see fit. Don't ask me how I know this because I cannot divulge my source.

PaceBalls
05-07-2004, 10:35 PM
I know that I would rather watch the game on TV. It is a better view than at the game and there is instant replays.... and its free...

If I had the money to throw away, I would definately get season tix within 20 rows of the court and be at every game. But alas, I got a crappy job and I am a starving artist. I think most Pacer fans fall into that category.

Roaming Gnome
05-07-2004, 11:24 PM
I debated about posting this but it's time to let it out. I know for a fact that the Pacers ticket office sits on around 200 club level seats. They do with those as they want-but are not released to the public. Most are sold to area ticket brokers or are held back for people buying season tickets. These 200 or so seats are still in their posession and the account managers can dole out the tickets as they see fit. Don't ask me how I know this because I cannot divulge my source.

Not really suprised because it is easier for both the Pacers and the Colts to dish out as many tickets as the brokers will buy...seems easier then trying to sell them to the general public that is slow to buy when the brokers will buy. Maybe that has a little bit to do with Indiana's lack of a scalping law. Personally, I don't mind being able to go to scalpers for deals to beat the box office.

able
05-08-2004, 07:04 AM
It is standard procedure for organization like CFH / Pacers to keep a "reserve" 1% tickets in high(er) profile seats for several reasons, one would be to make up for errors made by staff, one would be to allocate to visiting dignitaries, and so on.

If they "srew up" your ticket, they would be in trouble if all seats were really gone, this way they can compensate at will, if players need last minute tickets, (visiting team) and so on.

I am sure it is common in the league as it is for every event organizing entity

PacerStud
05-08-2004, 09:22 AM
Sure sounds like a case of Pacer Envy going on.

So they're not lining up to pay > $50 for a seat. BFD.

Have you been to any bars during the games ??

Have you worn a Pacer shirt to the grocery and had it spur 4 or 5 comments from people that would otherwise not talk to you ??

Have you noticed the lack of traffic while the games are on ??

There's a lot more to defining a fan base than simply ticket sales. And being an out-of-towner, you're not aware of everything else. To state that there's lack of support based solely on the matter of a few hundred tickets is creating an issue out of nothing and sure looks like someone just trying to pick out something to whine and complain about.

Maybe it the demise of your local team that has your envy going. One on the way up, the other just turning a corner to an extended period of mediocrity and mis-management.

You claim to be a Pacer fan and then you come here and say that we (in general) aren't. THAT seems pathetic.

Be supportive or be elsewhere.

Anthem
05-08-2004, 11:03 AM
That's something that we all need to get away from. We're all fans at this site, we all love the Pacers (well, minus the Pistons fans, DisplacedKnick, and DipperDunk ;) ) and we all love the team.

I dunno... I'm pretty sure that Rimfire has taken the next step on his path towards the dark side. The only question now is whether he will come out of the closet before Reggie retires, or if he'll wait for New York's Public Enemy #1 to hang 'em up before making a public, verbal committment to this Pacer team.

ChicagoJ
05-10-2004, 10:47 AM
Yes I am tired of this debate also.

However I was at the game last night and that was not a sellout, I don't care what the pacers organization says.


There were several rows in the Club level completely empty, rows of 7 or 8 on the Miami end, and there were a couple of hundred empty seats in "Jays" section that were empty. Comparable areas in the other 4 corners were completely filled.

there is a diference between no shows and seats that are not sold, , when you see a section where 50 seats are empty in one area, those seats are not sold.

Not that this matters.


Yes, my section was nearly deserted on Thursday night but nearly full on Saturday night.

I've noticed on a couple of occasions this season that the seats immediately behind us were sold as "group tickets" (for example, the Purdue Glee club sat behind us one game - and for most of them it was the first professional basketball game they've ever watched (in person or otherwise.) :unimpressed:

So that's another variable that hasn't been mentioned, seats "held back" for potential group sales that don't materialize and thus leaving a big "pocket" in the arena. I noticed this in Section 229 Saturday night, an enormous empty pocket at tipoff that happened to be entirely filled by the second quarter.

Bball
05-10-2004, 11:33 AM
So can we put this tired, old debate to bed now.

No. For Indiana to have trouble selling playoff tickets, even though they feature the best team in the NBA and an MVP candidate, is pathetic. I have serious doubts as to whether the Pacers have a STRONG fanbase in Indiana. For whatever reason, Hoosiers stay at home when the best best basketball players in their state suit up. :unimpressed: So much for the "Basketball State" label.

IMHO This team is paying for the past three seasons of mediocrity. That, and also having the end of a Pacer run die immediately (94-2000) rather than fade away.

I will add the economy is a factor as well IMO.

-Bball