Frank Vogel Misses You

pacers attendance

Your Indiana Pacers defeated the Atlanta Hawks 114-103 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse last night to move to 30-19 on the season. After the game, Indiana Coach Frank Vogel was understandably pleased with his team.

“Really proud of the effort tonight on the second night of a back-to-back. Gutsy win. A team win,” Vogel commented as he opened his post-game presser. “A lot of contributions from a lot of different guys.

“You know, this team plays with a lot of grit … a lot of hustle … A lot of unselfishness. They’re a fun team to watch. A fun team to coach. Really proud of how we’re playing at home, and …”

It was at this point, he took a little beat, looked slightly down at conference table, then – with a sideways smile – finished his opening comments by saying, “I’m hopeful that all you Pacer fans sitting at home watching on TV start coming out and seeing us, because this is a special team that we’re putting together here. We’re playing at a special level, and I look forward to seeing those crowds start getting up.”

Tuesday night’s contest was played in front of an announced crowd of 12,578, or a little more than 68% of the 18,165 that The Fieldhouse holds. The number of actual bodies in seats probably wasn’t more than two-thirds of the reported number.

Clearly, your coach noticed.

The Pacers are averaging just under 14,600 tickets sold per night this season (5th lowest in the NBA), and that is their highest average since the 2006-2007 season. However, that means that – on average – one out of every five tickets have gone unsold. There are sellouts – the Heat game Friday and the Bulls game Monday – but those have been generously augmented by a fans of the opposing tea. On most nights, there are large patches of empty green seats.

AttendanceOf course, this isn’t uncommon in the NBA. Tuesday night’s opponent – the Atlanta Hawks – probably felt very much at home in front of sparsely-populated arena. They stand one slot ahead of the Pacers in attendance at just shy of 14,900 ducats per night. After a Pacer visit to Milwaukee earlier in the season, there was a conversation in the Pacer media room about a relatively empty Bradley Center. The general conclusion was that these kind of “partial sellouts” were the norm in many markets around the league.

But, this isn’t many markets around the league. Even setting aside the whole “In-49-states-it’s-basketball” propaganda, there are compelling reasons for people to come see this team. The Pacers have now won 15 straight in the Fieldhouse to run their record at home to 20-3. That’s the best in the Eastern Conference, and trails only San Antonio (22-2) and Oklahoma City (21-3) in the Association.

Paul George has been named to the All Star team. Both he and Lance Stephenson are blossoming before the very eyes of Pacer fans. Hometown product George Hill is growing into his point guard and leadership role, providing clutch play and maturity. David West embodies many of the qualities of the halcyon days of the mid-to-late ’90s for this franchise.

There is no question that Frank Vogel and his Pacers are putting a good product on the floor. It’s easy to see why they would hope that a few more people would come view it. It’s especially easy to see how — after a packed, partisan Bankers Life Fieldhouse during last May’s playoff run — they would be disappointed to play in front of a lot of empty seats.

Look, this isn’t a lecture. No one needs an excuse to not go to Pacer games. No one is or should be required to spend their money on the Pacers. It is a pastime.

But, here’s the thing … it’s a really good pastime right now. One worth checking out.

Because Frank Vogel misses you, but more importantly, you may be missing out, too.



Tags: Attendance Woes

  • Realist


    - Pacers fan from Australia who would love just to go once.

    • Jack Wright

      have u ever lived in indiana? just wondering how a guy from australia becomes such a big pacer fan if you’ve never lived in the US

      • Realist

        No, never been to Indiana. In 1998 I went with parents to NY/LA/Vegas/Philly/DC. Saw a playoff game at MSG (Knicks-Heat, the one with the brawl at the end where Van Gundy was hanging off Mourning’s leg) but that was it.

        When MJ retired in ’93 (I was 9), I was just getting into NBA, decided I should pick a team and stick with ‘em. I remember tossing up between Denver, Golden State and Indiana. True story. I ended up going with the ‘cers and that weird lookin’ lanky dude.

        ’93-onward was a good time to get onboard the Pacers though, obviously. =)

        I will take a US trip sometime in the next couple years hopefully and of course visit my beloved Hoosier state. Maybe even this year, who knows? See what the Pacers are doing in JUNE… (jinx?)

        • Jack Wright

          nice. u picked the right team

  • Jack Wright

    people are really starting to talk about the pacers. the poor start to the season may have something to do with less people than we’d like showing up for the games, but that’s clearly far in the past. so i think the attendance will keep growing and hopefully at a faster pace.

    ps – i’m very happy to see roy put a couple nice games together. very great to see from the big fella

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  • disqus_SWTzQJ8XLb

    does anyone have stats on whether attendance has been improving since the poor start to the season? i can imagine poor attendance early on, but i hope that December/January has been better

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  • Joe Betz

    A big issue with Pacers attendance is Indy suburbanism….it lacks the population density that helps other markets outperform them. For me, I live in Bloomington but have to to travel to Indy on Thursdays…unfortunately from 7-9:30…aka, when there will never be a game or a game will be happening while I teach…hoping to make it to a game later in the year though on a special trip.

  • classylady

    Ill bet if Ron Artest was still here wed have more fans in the stands :) they re playing better but its not the same we need someone to hate like MWP or to adore like Reggie. It doesnt help t know that were paying roy 58mil to get 10 pts and 5 rebounds…Give some of that money to real backbone, David West…As for Granger, i dont know how to unlock more value from him but to trade the next Jonathan Bender tragedy.

  • dwaink

    when i lived there i made lotsa games, but now that i live over 100 miles away it is a long drive to Indy. and if u are a working stiff like me and get off at 4:30 u almost have to leave straight from work to get to Indy in time to fight parking and make it to the arena….i paint commercial buildings for a living and i ain’t likely to be “public” ready straight from work to the arena. that means i have to take time off from work(unpaid time) to make it to a game. i did make it to game 4 last year and screamed my moneys worth off…but i ended up walking away saying “where’s Reggie”
    been trying to work up a fathers and kids (or grandkids) thing with the guys at work for this year, but it is kinda a stretch to get us all on the same page. i will make a Friday home game before the year is over though
    Pacers need to do some serious ad work to get a new generation of Indy Pacer fans started …to get the younger hard hat crew started in a regular habit of coming to games