Hello everyone again, and happy holidays to you all.
This topic is on my mind today for varying reasons. First of all, the Pacers own play lately has been better on the road than at home, which is a rarity in modern day sports. Secondly, our television ratings are supposedly up on our local broadcasts, but attendance is down at Conseco. Thirdly, the fans that have attended are remarkably staid and quiet, failing to provide what appears to be an exciting, interesting atmosphere in Conseco Fieldhouse. This thread will attempt to come up with answers and solutions to making Conseco Fieldhouse a more entertaining place to be on game nights, and on ways the Pacers organization can help with that, therefore gaining benefit on the court and in the standings.
From a financial standpoint, the Pacers initial problem is they aren't getting paying customers in the door to begin with. We've covered ad nauseum my views on the Pacers woeful marketing efforts before...this thread won't go into that again. Today what I want to talk about is how the organization can make it a better atmosphere and experience ONCE THE PEOPLE ARE ALREADY THERE. I only am able to see about 5 games a year in person myself, those of you who are season ticket holders along with those who are in a similar situation as me are invited to give their opinions as well.
The things I think could make Conseco better for those in attendance are listed below. Some are big things, some are small things....I'll be interested in any feedback on my own ideas, and to hear the original ideas of this message board's membership.
1. Change the seat colors from the ugly green they are currently to Pacers blue and gold. I have no clue why the designers of the building selected green as the seat color of our arena, maybe it has to do with television viewing, I don't know. But to me, it makes the Pacers look like a visiting team playing in a neutral site, and I don't like it. The entire arena, from the graphics on the floor to the scoreboard to the colors of the seats should be Pacers colors.....after all, that's the main function of the building!
2. The Pacers (and most NBA teams) play way too much piped in, artificial noise and music. It sounds forced, generic, and cheesy to me. It would be much better in this regard to do what Sacramento does I believe, which is to have a live pep band. This is a nod to our Indiana basketball heritage, would be much more natural and effective in getting the crowd excited, and would make the place a much more "basketball oriented" game atmosphere.
I could see several ways to do this....you could invite different local high school bands to perform if you wanted. You could have college pep bands rotate, from IU to Purdue to IUPUI to Evansville to ISU to Ball State to Notre Dame. Or, you could have your own very large "Pacer Pep Band", which would perform every game. Or, you could combine in some form all of the above.
I'm sorry, but the atmosphere, strictly from a music standpoint, to me is much better in the college arenas than in the NBA.
3. Little kids surrounding the court for introductions. Yes! How many more parents would bring their children (future Pacer fans) if during the introductions ot the starting lineups the players ran around the court high fiving the little ones who got to come down on the floor and ring the playing surface? What a thrill it would be for your 8 yr old son or daughter to get to come down and high five JO before every game for instance?
4. Dimming the lights during game action. To understand what I mean, try watching a Laker game on television at the Staples Center, as the stands become darker to highlight the action on the court. It gets your attention to the game action, instead of gawking around looking at your surroundings, and it makes it seem like a major event is happening. it's tempting at Conseco ( I fall for it myself sometimes), to just look around at the awesomeness of it all, instead of actually paying attention to the game. This is done at MSG as well I believe. Much like a movie theatre does to make the action on screen the key thing, not what is going on in the next seating section or in the rows in front of you.
5. Festival seating for certain sections. I'd favor probably a section near my pep band underneath one of the baskets, but I could be convinced to either move it or increase the numbers of festival seating sections. In other words....MAKE IT IMPORTANT TO BE THERE EARLY in your seat, and not milling around being a tourist outside the arenas seating area, for at least those who want to sit as close as possible who buy those sections tickets.
Maybe I'd find a way to put in those metal bleachers somewhere in the corners instead of those comfy seats, just for this purpose...I don't know. This is a great concept for baseball teams, who often sell these type seats in their outfield bleachers, and it all helps build excitement in the stadium.
6. Pipe in the media's press coverage of the game over the main speakers in the fieldhouse both before and after the game. If the paying customers who just saw the game could here Jim O'Brien after the game, it might help them realize how important the fans contributions could be. They could get positive feedback from the organization this way.....what if after a big home win, Coach O'Brien or Larry Bird were to be heard over the speakers at Conseco talking about how the fans great atmosphere and cheering really helped the team win that game? Wouldn't it almost become a self fulfilling prophecy?
7. How about a "walk" in to the arena that goes thru the crowd, much like some college football teams do? How much fun would that be? Sometime around an hour before game time, when your players are no doubt already there anyway, have your team meet in the practice gym that is visible from the windows, walk up through the lobby and past all the fans who are waiting, and be led in to warmups by your cheerleaders and marching band?
Cheesy? Yes, probably. Fun and fan friendly? You bet......
Ok, I have given a few of my ideas....now how about some of yours?
How can we make Conseco Fieldhouse a more fun place to be, gaining attendance and creating a better atmosphere more conducive to us winning, which is what we all want anyway.
Please don't write in to say "get better players" or "start winning games". We all know that everyone loves a winner, and that the number one best marketing tool for a franchise is to win. Let's think beyond that, and think of some new ideas, or discuss the ones I threw out above.
As always, the above is just my opinion.