Attendance Through the Years

Published: November 19, 2010

Since there has been a good deal of attendance discussion lately, I’ve been tinkering with pulling together a post.  The article I posted earlier today beat us up pretty good, so I wanted to give a little bit of information in this journal.  

Looking at the data below, I don’t see how our economy, disasters and all, is a factor in the attendance.

  • Our attendance is up since before the storm.  
  • We basically filled the Arena following the 2008 playoffs, which never happened before the storm.
  • There was a major push to pre-sell tickets to land the team and many of the seats were sold in multi-year deals.  This article briefly describes these facts.  Thus, the tickets sale numbers before Katrina do not necessarily follow the typical drivers.  After the storm they follow the prior season’s wins strongly, which is expected.    

Some want to make the argument that New Orleans can not support both the Saints and the Hornets.  

  • Before Katrina, the Saints were not selling out the Dome on a season ticket basis, but they sold out many games.  Not all suites were sold, however.  
  • Since the storm, every seat and every suite has been sold, playoffs included and that is after suites were added.  

Despite this, and the hits on the economy and population, the allegiance to the sports teams as reflected by ticket sales has increased.  

So far this season, the attendance is surpassing that of the last 2 years before Katrina, both of which were preceded by seasons with playoff appearances.  Comparing apples to apples, low-point to low-point in this case, it seems to me that the Hornets are making headway in a community that is perfectly capable of meeting the attendance standards of an NBA team, if they are not already.  

Due to the size of the Arena, the Hornets attendance will never be top 10 in the league, and unless many teams are having horrible attendance by their standards, the Hornets will never crack the top 15 in attendance.  This was known and approved by NBA owners when they moved here twice, so I’m assuming that will be satisfactory for at least another decade.  None of the teams averaging over 16,000 are being mentions in the contraction conversation, for instance.  

Supporting Data:

Season: 2002-2003 (First in New Orleans)
Average Attendance: 15,650
NBA Rank: 19
Percent of Capacity: 91.0
Prior Season Wins: 44
Prior Season Playoffs: Lost Second Round
Season Wins: 47
Season Playoffs: Lost First Round

Season: 2003-2004
Average Attendance:14,332
NBA Rank: 28
Percent of Capacity: 83.3
Prior Season Wins: 47
Prior Season Playoffs: Lost First Round
Season Wins: 41
Season Playoffs: Lost First Round

Season: 2004-2005
Average Attendance: 14,221
NBA Rank: 30
Percent of Capacity: 82.7
Prior Season Wins: 41
Prior Season Playoffs: Lost First Round
Season Wins: 18
Season Playoffs: No

Season: 2007-2008 (First after Katrina)
Average Attendance: 14,181
NBA Rank: 26
Percent of Capacity: 82.4
Prior Season Wins: 39
Prior Season Playoffs: No
Season Wins: 56
Season Playoffs: Lost in Second Round

Season: 2008-2009
Average Attendance: 16,968
NBA Rank: 19
Percent of Capacity: 98.7
Prior Season Wins: 56
Prior Season Playoffs: Lost in Second Round
Season Wins: 49
Season Playoffs: Lost in First Round

Season: 2009-2010
Average Attendance: 15,130
NBA Rank: 23
Percent of Capacity: 88.5
Prior Season Wins: 49
Prior Season Playoffs: Lost in First Round
Season Wins: 37
Season Playoffs: No

Season: 2010-2011
Average Attendance: 14,467 (7 games, estimated)
NBA Rank: 23 or 24 (estimated)
Percent of Capacity: 84.7 (estimated)
Prior Season Wins: 37
Prior Season Playoffs: No
Season Wins: 9
Season Playoffs: N/A


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