What Gives, Pacers Fans?

It’s no secret that the Pacers have watched their fan base recede steadily since the 2004 brawl and the ensuing years of arrests, suspensions and mercurial personality displays. It was presumed, however, that things were getting better. The team has rid its rosters of all nearly all vestiges from those dark days (Lance Stephenson’s new-age police trouble notwithstanding) and is now populated by seemingly moral young kids who should be much easier to root for. Moreover, with a 7-3 record, the team is tied for third place in the Eastern Conference.

So what’s the deal with this report last night from the Indianapolis Business Journal?

Don’t have official attendance yet for tonight’s Pacers game, but I can’t imagine there are more than 6,500 in the Fieldhouse.

Sports business reporter Darrell Rovell captured the void by publishing the image above.

So what gives, Pacers fans? We know you didn’t go to the team’s second home game in Conseco Fieldhouse during last year’s playoffs against the Bulls. But that’s understandable. The playoff berth for a sub-.500 team must have caught many off guard, and it’s tough to get too excited about a match-up against the conference’s best team.

But how about now? Why aren’t you showing up to watch this team in 2012?

UPDATE: Here’s some more context from Pacers supporter and sometimes 8p9s contributor Tony Laurenzana.

Attendance was around 10K last night, but what Rovell didn’t mention was that traffic was blocked and people were late

2 inmates attempted to escape the Marion Co. Jail and police blocked traffic around the Fieldhouse which caused many to be late.

10,000 is still pretty bad and Pacers season ticket holder David Peck was there and acknowledged that the Fieldhouse “empty,” but the photo, which was right before tip, probably makes it look more vacant than it was.

Tags: Attendance Chicago Bulls

  • http://www.eightpointsnineseconds.com Ronal Eugene

    That picture looks like it happend just before tip-off. It did fill out quite a bit better by the end of the first quarter, but I’m still left with all the same questions as you. By comparison, the Colts stadium was still full in December (granted it’s all season tickets) and rocking each game.

  • http://www.theshortfuse.com Brohan Cruyff

    I can’t really answer your question, because I did show up – but I noticed, and was mildly disappointed by, the relatively sparse attendance. I think there were a few legitimate reasons for it; it was a Wednesday night, the weather was kind of crappy, it was the Hawks (I mean, I don’t think Hawks fans even usually go to see the Hawks). I was at the home pre-season game and the Bobcats game, both of which were more well-attended than I expected, so I don’t know if this is a thing that’s going to be a constant issue.

  • http://www.theshortfuse.com Brohan Cruyff

    And Ronal Eugene is right, I think a lot of people just showed up late. Honestly I almost was, I got held up at work.

  • A. Schick

    I’ve never understood people’s propensity for showing up late to games. Being an IU fan and living in Bloomington, I’m used to the students showing up late (or potentially not at all) to football games. But this is basketball crazed state, and the Pacers continuing a strong season after returning to the playoffs last year should only bolster our attendance. Cost is a problem; I paid $45 for two tickets each to Saturday’s game against BOS, but I know I’ll have a great time because it’s a matchup against a marquee team. I shouldn’t have to pay that same price to sit in the rafters when the Charlotte Bobcats come to town. The NBA is also incredibly over-saturated. Cut the games down. Offer a better product. Just my two cents.

  • Ronal Eugene is Right!!

    I’d chalk it up to a weeknight with bad weather plus they were coming off a disappointing loss against the 76ers and we all know how fickle Indy fans are. You could have written the opposite story about the near sellout against the Bobcats of all teams on wild card Saturday, which frankly I was shocked by. Saturday was as loud as I’ve seen that building for a sub par regular season game in a long time and it was nice to see.

  • Derek

    I live about 2 hours away, get down for as many games as I can. Unfortunately, mid-week games are tough for people with work, and if it isn’t a great draw it doesn’t surprise me to see the empty seats. On StubHub, lowers were going for $75-$100, pretty high for “casual” fans. Plus, Atlanta has dominated the Pacers in the past, and they are a plain boring team to go see.

    I wouldn’t be worried until the Pacers start struggling to pack it out for Friday/Sat games, and any decent draw.

    Was a bummer though. Shows how far the Pacers fell in the past 5+ years, going to take more than a 7-3 start to get the “casuals” back.

  • http://twitter.com/excitedstate boombaby

    Man, I wish I still lived in Indianapolis. I made it to like 6 games last year, despite living in Minneapolis, and the home opener this year. Plus I always make it to the Pacers road game against the Wolves.

    Too bad not everyone is as dedicated as us loyal 8.9 readers.

  • http://PacersCenter.com Joe

    Yeah I saw complete sections empty on the broadcast last night. I was expecting a better crowd because the Hawks are a good team. I’ve been to 2 of the games this year, and both were well attended. I don’t get why fans aren’t coming back to this team. Personally, I don’t get why they jumped off in the first place.


  • Chris D.

    I’m a Pacer fan in NC. I try to make the Pacers games at Bobcats every year and attend a game in Indy when I visit my folks. I noticed the small crowd on League Pass, but I was also surprised by the sparce crowd at the Philly game. (If you want to see weak crowds, attend a Charlotte game! The enthusiasm is only about 50% of the attendance level.) Anyhow, this schedule is relentless. I wonder if small market fans (or most fans in general) can sustain attending a game every two or three nights. You blink and they play two games. Pacers should try some variable pricing for the upper deck just to fill it out a bit more. Get butts in the seats, buying souvenirs and food. Also, this team has yet to produce a player who feels like the “next Reggie Miller” in terms of fan rapport. Maybe that’s a marketing failure. Indy sports fans have gotten spoiled to success with lifers like Reggie and Peyton.

  • Nathan

    The fact of the matter is, the casual fan is probably not (yet) drawn to this team. And casual fans fill up stadiums.

    Sure, the Pacers have done all the right things and have a decent enough product on the court. But are the casual fans — the same ones that have watched and gone to Colts games for the past decade because it was the cool thing to do in this city — filling seats in The Bank? I doubt it.

    There’s nothing spectacular enough on this team to immediately draw casual fans. WIthout such, just winning games is probably a slower means to building up the all-important casual fan base.

    I say patience.

  • Andrew

    I was there and it was pretty empty, at least compared to the Pistons and Bobcats games I was at. I figured most of it had to do with the fact that it was a Wed. game. I do hope that the team keeps having ticket deals like they have early, so far I’ve been to three games and paid a total of $12 for my seats.

  • Jim

    Indiana loves their basketball and their Pacers. The Pacers are playing their best basketball since the early 2000′s. The Pacers had great crowds during those years and it should be turning the corner soon. After the Super Bowl festivities are long over with, I fully expect attendance to rise greatly. For the reason of this being the best team since the early 2000′s and Hoosiers won’t resist. I’m a STH and I remember how dull the crowd was for that game against the Hawks. The crowds haven’t been great since then, but again, the SB and a lot of road closures had a lot to do with it. Looking forward to tomorrow night’s game against the Magic. Looking like a near sellout and many outsiders stopping by for the game. Hopefully it’s the start to much better attendance.

  • Indiana Sucks

    Indiana is garbage.