Anyone else hear about attendances for other clubs?
As someone who has worked in both sports PR and the media for over 20 years, I can say with some certainty that the Raptors are not a well-run franchise. At this point, I'll be surprised if they make it past this season. The stories I could tell...
I still think the IBL is a good business model for minor league pro basketball, but you have to have the right people owning the teams (something I've said for years on OSC's message boards). That does not appear to be the case in Lewis County. Charging $8 a ticket for a low minor league team, and then expecting people to just fill the gym because the team exists doesn't cut it...even in small markets like this one. You have to give people a reason to WANT to come, and that's not happening here.
I was there the next night. 300 would be generous, 200 would be stingy.
I originally said their place (which is Northwest Christian College's Morse Events Center) held 500. It's 1,000. It's handy for the small concept, but will never be anything bigger. They could do something on a CBA scale at the Lane County Fairgrounds, but with the attention on Oregon in the media during the winter, I don't see that working. It's possible that the spring schedule is a saving grace for this team. After all, if it wasn't for a buyer (apparently from Santa Barbara, BTW), the Chargers wouldn't even be around this year.
Centralia doesn't sound too encouraging. Yikes!
The short season is also a very good idea; though I am not sure if the games are packed too tightly together. 2 games a week (one home and one away) are a good mix.
This league does seem to have a clue from the front office. It does seem to struggle between recognizing that smaller markets are better than having places like Las Vegas in your system.
Salem is 5-0 and beat the Hotshots, who do to an ownership takeover just 2 months ago, set back their schedule to get sponsors, season ticket holders, staff, and concrete roster in place. For their first game, playing an undefeated team, being down by 6 with 4 minutes left, I thought they played pretty well.
The schedule difficulties are common for minor league basketball combined with a relatively new league with increasing teams...
I like the brand of basketball that creates a high entertainment factor. The contests, prize giveaways, and positive atmosphere make for a great, sellable product.
Anyone else hear about attendances for other clubs?
The Elkhart Express averaged around 2500-2800 last year, I believe. I can't find any exact, "authoritative", figures or sources at the moment, though I did find the following from this very site (from last year):
"The 12-2 Express are leading the IBL in average attendance at over 2,700 fans per game-including nearly 3,600 versus Columbus on May 6." (From the "IBL news and notes, dated 05/23/06 - International Basketball League (IBL)", on Our Sports Central.)
I do know that this season's opening game for the Express, at home, had 5444 (or right in there, give or take a few stragglers) in attendance. (One of the main reasons for this high figure is that 7'9" Sun Ming Ming was playing, and the local papers had several articles mentioning this fact, several days prior to the game.) Their most recent game, on a Saturday night at home, had something like 2370 in attendance. About average, to maybe a bit below average, for Elkhart, I think. Perhaps the fact that the Chicago Bulls were playing against the Miami Heat in the first game of their playoff series, and that this game was being televised locally (it probably ended right around the time the Express game would have started), had an impact on attendance.
Anyway, it seems to me, from the bits and pieces of news I've culled this year so far, that the Elkhart Express are probably again averaging right around 2500-2800 in attendance (not counting the unusually high first-game figure). There has been serious talk of having the Express join the NBDL (I don't know just how serious, but it seems as though it hasn't been mere "pie-in-the-sky" imagination or wishful-thinking). Apparently, the main hindrance is that Elkhart does not have an actual "arena", though the facility they play in seats 7300 or so, and by no means has the "feel" of a "mere" high school gym. Regarding this, there has also seemingly been serious talk in the Elkhart community of building a "legitimate" arena, though I think this has only reached the level of talk - my understanding is that the local leaders rejected approving funding for a feasibility study (or some such thing) of building such an arena.
I have been to a number of the Express games myself, and the games are well-played, professionally presented, and quite fun to watch. From the reactions of the crowds at Elkhart, I'd say I'm not the only one to have this opinion (at least in Elkhart, about the Express).
Hope this wasn't too long and winding, or winded, of a response.
They seemed to travel pretty well too. As I recall, Macomb County's game against Elkhart probably had the largest attendance of the season. Many of those were Elkhart fans.
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