Monday, December 1

Turkey Day Numbers

Given the state of affairs in NBA attendance this year, I thought we should take a quick look at how the league fared over the course of the four-day holiday weekend.

Thanksgiving means turkey, mashed potatoes, and basketball – at least to NBA fans, anyways. While it could be argued that Christmas Day is the start of the NBA season, the NFL is winding down, you get a couple of marquee games to watch, Thanksgiving is also a good time to gauge the temperature of the league.

So, how did the NBA do this past weekend? First, the raw numbers.

Thanksgiving 2008 – 17,687 avg., 91% capacity
Thanksgiving 2007 – 17184 avg., 89% capacity

That’s a fair improvement, especially when you look at how the overall numbers have gone this season. However, it could be argued that the Seattle/Oklahoma City returns might skew the numbers unfairly, so here’s how it would look if Sonic-Thunder were removed from the equation (and, yes, I agree, Sonic-Thunder sounds like a nifty 1987 band; can we get Sammy Hagar to sing lead?):

sans Sonic-Thunder
Thanksgiving 2008 – 17667 avg., 90% capacity
Thanksgiving 2007 – 17486 avg., 90% capacity

That narrows the gap a bit, but even a crusty old grump such as myself would have to admit that the league is at least doing as well this year as last.

Another way to view the numbers is to have a breakdown of % capacities:

90%+: 17 (2007), 21 (2008)
80-90%: 4 (2007), 3 (2008)
70-80%: 5 (2007), 2 (2008)
60-70%: 3 (2007), 3 (2008)

see chart below for complete breakdowns
Again, the nod goes to this year. This is an admittedly small sample size (29 games in total), and doesn’t take into account who was playing, weather, etc.

But, for a quick sampling of tastes from last year to this year, it gives us some insight anyways. For once, let me say, a pat on the back to the league for keeping its head above-water in difficult times.

5 comments:

Justin Townsend said...

I was in Sacramento for the holiday visiting my wife's family. We caught the Kings-Mavs game on Saturday night and the stands couldn't have even been half filled. The announced attendance was around 12,000, but I would be surprised if there were anywhere close to 10,000 fans.

On a side note, my wife's home team (the Kings) currently fields one of the most pathetic organized teams on any level that I have ever seen. As soon as they announced the starting 5 (Beno Udrih, John Salmons, Donta Green, Mikki Moore, and Brad Miller) I knew we were in for a long night. Only when 35 year old Bobby Jackson was in the game, did the Kings provide any excitement whatsoever.

So, with the Sonics gone, I can't even fall back on my wife's favorite team. Thus, I haven't really been following the NBA at all this season. So sad...

Anonymous said...

OKC avg attendance at 11th. Pretty good, but 1% away from 14th. After a month. Where will it go?

Anonymous said...

Thanksgiving weekend also saw merchandise sales record for the NBA

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/article/125931

NBAStore.com "recorded its best Black Friday sales ever, more than doubling last year's figures." Sales at the online store were up 95% for the full weekend. Together, sales online and at the NBA Store in N.Y. "rose a combined 38[%] from last year." Hornets G Chris Paul's No. 3 jersey was the "top seller over the weekend, followed by NBA team logoed T-shirts....Meanwhile, the NBA set a record for sales from its online store yesterday during Cyber Monday, as sales were 28% above '07 levels (THE DAILY).

Mike said...

I'd be really interested to see the breakdown of where those games were played. I assume that the league tries to get teams back at least once during that long weekend, but who knows?

nuss said...

You're right, Mike, where the games are played makes a big difference. For instance, the Sonics were home twice last year over the four days, pulling down the league's average.

On the other hand, Philly drew much better this year than last - making we wonder if the weather played/plays a factor.

Lots of variables; too many to draw any solid conclusions from this small glimpse.