Here’s a part of my NBA column that somehow didn’t make it onto the internet on Sunday that I thought was pretty interesting in regards to the Clippers:
A few weeks ago NBA commissioner David Stern announced the league was laying off about 9 percent of its workforce, amid fears that the country’s economic recession was going to severely cut into the league’s growth.
Well, we’re nearly a month into the season and attendance is basically flat compared to last season. Not half bad, considering the grim news coming from the economic sector every day.
Where the poor economy is being felt are in cities or regions that are being hardest hit by the recession and/or trying to support a losing team.
The steepest declines in attendance thus far come from Miami, where the Heat is off by an average of 3,622 fans a game from last year and Los Angeles, where the Clippers are off by 2,743 fans compared to last year.
Right behind those two franchises are the Philadelphia 76ers (-2,112), the Sacramento Kings (-2,101), the Charlotte Bobcats (-1,677) and Orlando Magic (-1,165).
There are a few exceptions of course. The new Oklahoma City Thunder has the worst record in the league and is still packing the house nearly every night. So are the dreadful Washington Wizards, who are still drawing 17,582 fans a game.
Those franchises that have managed to tread water in these turbulent times have come up with some creative promotions. Saturday, the Nets hosted the first of five job fairs, where unemployed fans who attend and bring a copy of their resume are given free tickets to the game.
“Unemployment is on the rise in the metropolitan area, so we want to offer our fans that are between jobs some help in finding a job, as well as a chance to relieve some stress by coming to a Nets game,” Nets CEO Brett Yormark said in a press release. “We are committed to investing in our fans now, and hopefully they will invest in us when times are better.”