The prospects of ending the NBA lockout anytime soon may look bleak, but the Philadelphia 76ers are still trying to grab all the audience they can in the event that the 2011-2012 season is rescued.
In an October 18 press conference, the Sixers’ new ownership group announced a significant reduction in single-game ticket prices for this season. Prices will be cut for over 8,000 seats at the Wells Fargo Center, or about 51 percent of the seats found in the upper and lower bowls.
The cheapest seats located in the lower bowl will sell for as low as $29, down from $54 last season. But the best deal seems to be at center court in the eighth row of the mezzanine bowl, where tickets will now go for $20, a drop of $25 from last year.
The lower bowl’s baseline seats, selling for $101 last year, also will change to a two-tiered pricing model at $89 and $59. However, fans will pay $5 more per ticket for designated Select Games, and $10 more for designated Choice Games.
During the press conference to introduce the new ownership group — which includes Philadelphia native Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith — CEO and co-owner Adam Aron highlighted the intent behind the price reductions.
“On thousands of seats each night, our ticket prices will be cut by 50 percent or more. This is not a sale or promotion. These are our new ticket prices, period, full stop,” Aron said. “Simply stated, price will not be an obstacle in preventing Philadelphia sports fans from being able to enjoy NBA basketball, in person. Our house is now your house.”
The move comes none too soon for beleaguered team loyalists who’ve seen play suffer over the past several years. While holding the third-best team record in the NBA for wins as well as for playoff appearances, the last time that the Sixers won a playoff series was in 2003.
“My partners and I are committed to doing everything we can to return the Sixers to their historical greatness,” said co-managing owner Josh Harris. “Our goal, make no mistake, is to create a world-class franchise and win NBA championships.”
The new pricing plan may excite fans, but it could take some time before these changes affect ticket-buying trends.
“I haven’t had a lot of feedback,” Jeremy Conaway, vice president of Wanamaker Ticket Office in Philadelphia, told TicketNews about the price changes. “We’re talking about it in here, obviously, but there are not a lot of people talking about the NBA, period, with the lockout. Until they come to an agreement… I think at that point you’ll see some people talking about it. Right now, people are talking about the NFL and NHL, and the World Series.”