Mike Bass, the NBA's senior vice president for marketing communications, said gate receipts are down less than the league projected.
"All of our teams have been very responsive to the financial concerns of our fans," Bass said in a statement to CBSSports.com. "The majority of our teams have held or lowered ticket prices this season, and all have introduced a number of creative, family-friendly ticket options in response to the financial difficulties our fans are facing. The response has been extremely positive as attendance is off slightly from last year, which was our third highest attendance in history."
League-wide, average paid attendance through Nov. 29 was 13,187, down 3.7 percent from 13,699 at this point last season.
The five best:
Cleveland: 18,157, up 10.4 percent
Portland: 17,714, down 0.5 percent
New York: 17,523, up 4.2 percent
Boston: 17,067, up 0.8 percent
Bulls: 16,272, down 2.4 percent
The five worst:
Memphis: 6,879, up 6.8 percent
Sacramento: 7,606, down 21.1 percent
Milwaukee: 8,331, down 26.7 percent
Philadelphia: 8,701, down 16.4 percent
Charlotte: 8,969, up 4.7 percent
The disparity between high-revenue teams and low-revenue teams is one of the key issues looming with owners and players preparing for negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. As expected, owners have notified the players’ association that they will not extend the current agreement, which expires after the 2010-11 season.
Compared to full-season figures for 2008-09, the number of teams netting less than $500,000 in gate receipts per home game has grown from five to eight, with the Sixers, Kings, and Bobcats joining the Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Bucks, Pacers, and Hawks in the under-$500K club. But pricing pressure also has affected the high-revenue clubs. Compared to full-season totals from ’08-’09, the number of teams netting at least $1 million per home game has shrunk from 12 to seven, with the Suns, Thunder, Rockets, Warriors, and Suns dropping out of the $1 million club.