NBA Preseason Attendance Has Fallen Off a Cliff

The NBA preseason is upon us, with the NHL exhibition season having just wrapped. Of course, with preseason comes neutral site games, and the NHL cleaned up recently in Vegas, as the LAS VEGAS SUN and SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY report, “the September 27 Avalanche-Kings NHL preseason game at the 17,157-seat MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, which took place on a Saturday night opposite a Nevada-UNLV college football game at Sam Boyd Stadium, drew an announced crowd of 12,013 fans.

NBA Dancers With Lowrise Jeans

(NBA needs more of these … in seats that is)

Meanwhile, last Sunday in NBA preseason action in Vegas, the Lakers played the Sac Kings, who are owned by the Maloofs (who own and operate The Palms hotel in Sin City.

The attendance:  A god-awful 11,090. The number is disappointing to say the last, considering the Maloofs’ presence in town and the city’s proximity to Los Angeles. So Kobe & Co. can’t draw in Vegas? But what about Lebron in Pittsburgh tonight - just a two-hour drive from Cleveland?

Uh, you don’t want to know about that one either.

The PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW reports that for tonight’s Cavs-Celts game, “tonight’s affair was expected to draw about 8,000 fans at the 12,500-seat facility  (Peterson Events Center), which is considerably smaller than that of Mellon Arena’s approximate capacity of 17,000.

So the NBA had to move the game from the Penguins home arena to Pitt’s smaller building because of anticipated paltry attendance? Uh-oh.

I’m not so sure this is a sign no one cares about the NBA outside of NBA markets. I think it’s more a reflection of outrageous ticket prices. People have just had enough. And with the economy now crumbling, we are finally seeing a very real backlash.

Instead of laying off 80 in the NBA office, David Stern & Co. better hurry up and figure out how to lower ticket prices (by backing down salaries, of course). That will be the long term answer to keeping people coming to the games - wherever they are staged.