Pacers match last year’s sellout total after 16 games
The Pacers will sellout their 10th game of the season at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday afternoon, matching their regular-season total all of last season just 16 home games in.
“I love it,” coach Frank Vogel said when informed of the accomplishment. “I’ve been saying all along that our fan support is going to come back. When it wasn’t there right away last year and the year before, I said, ‘It takes time,’ but these fans are pure and they love our Pacers, and they’re starting to show it in a big time way. It’s exciting.”
Obviously winning — the Pacers are 24-5 — plays a big part in the equation. But the makeup of the team and their likeability is also a contributing factor. Paul George’s rise has him in the MVP conversation, Roy Hibbert stuffs anything that comes his way, David West is the no nonsense backbone of the team, George Hill is the hometown hero and you never know what Lance Stephenson is going to do next. … And those are just the starters.
Hill, who grew up in Indianapolis and attended Broad Ripple High School, says the increased fan support is obvious to him on the court.
“It’s been a different environment here, a different feel,” he said. “It’s the same environment that I felt when I was a child, coming to to Market Square Arena. We’re getting the support now and like they say, support comes with success. We’re having a little bit of success and the city is starting to embrace us.”
Hill is modest, saying “a little bit of success.” They are atop the Eastern Conference standings, have a 12-game lead in the Central Division, and are one win from tying Oklahoma City for the league’s best record.
Growing the Pacers’ attendance figures has been an ongoing process, and it hasn’t been easy. Over the last three years, the Pacers have sold out more games each year. They had six sellouts in 2010-11, six (or 18 percent) in a lockout-shortened 2011-12, and 10 this past year.
In 1999-2000, Indiana’s most successful season in NBA franchise history when they made their only Finals appearance, all 41 games were recorded as sellouts. In the last decade, the 2004-05 season was their high with 15 sellouts.
“This is a terrific indicator of the fan support and general demand to see one of the best teams in the NBA,” said Derek Throneburg, the Pacers’ Vice President of Ticket Sales Strategy. “We still have plenty of work to do, but we will continue to try and enhance the fan experience when attending games in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The fan support has been tremendous through the first two months and we look forward to growing even more as the season progresses.”
Across the NBA, the Pacers rank 18th in attendance, averaging a 93.3 percent capacity. They are up seven spots from last season.
Sidenote: NBA teams are required to hold a number of tickets each game for both participating teams and other NBA uses. Hours before the game, any unused tickets are put back on the marketplace. It’s always best for fans to check Pacers.com for the most recent ticket availability. If no tickets are available there, the Pacers recommend that fans visit NBATickets.com, a resale marketplace which provides guaranteed authentic tickets verified by Ticketmaster.