With the news that Sixers legend Allen Iverson will officially announce his retirement before the Sixers’ home opener on October 30, an era has fittingly come to an end. Sixers’ fans all remember how Iverson carried the team for ten years, led them to the 2001 NBA Finals and won an MVP award. He dazzled us with his killer cross over and ability to glide through the lane and finish through contact, but most importantly, gave his all every single game for the city of Philadelphia.
Now as Iverson enters his life after basketball, the Sixers will also begin their own new era. The team is in a rebuilding stage and is preparing for the future with a roster full of young talent. Rookies Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel are viewed as the new hopeful cornerstones for this franchise.
The future of this team has the potential, if things go according to management’s plan, to be extremely bright. Until then, this will be a very tough year for the Sixers. The question that remains is how will management fill the Wells Fargo Center with large crowds?
Fans around Philadelphia are aware of the rebuilding process that has been put in place. Rebuilding is a phase that franchises in all sports must go through at some point. However, following the team’s playoff run in 2011, it seemed that the Sixers had finally established themselves as an up and coming NBA contender. Two years later and the team is back to square one, but fans may not tolerate losing again.
Philadelphia sports have always been about pride and winning. Fans back up their favorite teams when they are winning, but when things are going wrong and taking a turn for the worse, the fans are not afraid to show their frustration and disapproval. With the Sixers seemingly embracing losing this year, how are the fans going to react?
Attendance at the Wells Fargo Center has been an issue for a few years now. It has been a struggle to draw fans to watch this team play. In 2010, the Sixers ranked twenty sixth in the league in attendance. Since that time they have become a middle of the pack team in the rankings except for last season. Due to their struggles in 2013, the Sixers finished just twenty-first in the league in attendance and drew an average of almost 16,717 fans per game at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers will struggle to win games once again this year, but it is possible that they are worse than last year. If the trend continues, the more the team loses the less people will come to the games. With significantly more struggles ahead, attendance will surely continue to plummet and could leave the team ranking even closer to the bottom of the league.
Despite the fact that the team will not be very good this season, team management has raised the price for season tickets. The price per ticket for each game has been increased by thirty dollars. Fans have voiced their displeasure of the price increase and it has caused many to decline the renewal of their season ticket plans. Ticket sales are going to suffer drastically as more and more people choose to save their money rather than pay to see this team play on a regular basis.
The task at hand for team management and owner Josh Harris is to bring more people to the games on a nightly basis. It is not going to be an easy task by any means and there is a chance that the Sixers finish dead last in attendance this year. If the team does not do something about the decrease in ticket sales, then it could hurt the financial situation of the team in the future. On opening night against the Miami Heat, the Wells Fargo Center will be filled with fans to see the Sixers play the defending champions, but after that it’s anyones guess as to how many fans show up to home games. What we do know is that Josh Harris and his management team need to do something that will draw more fan attention to this lottery bound team.