Okay, so the Raptors have always done pretty well with attendance, but as any executive in the NBA will tell you, it never hurts to expand your market (er…hello Buffalo Bills?). I would assume that is why the NBA puts teams to play all over the world in the preseason, bringing the game to a wider market, which in the end brings in more revenue.
So once again, I have to ask, why do the Raptors charge full pop for fans to actually go to the ACC to watch preseason games? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. For instance, last week, the Raptors played Zalgiris Kaunas (a team from Lithuania) down at the ACC. Now, outside of the Lithuanian community in Toronto and the hardcore Raptor fans, who is really going to want to head down to the ACC for this game, especially at full pop? I find it strange that official attendance numbers were not released…then again, maybe I don’t. The game against the Bulls the other night only drew just over 14,000.
So why not put a big discount on preseason games, at least for the upper bowl? While the whole point of the preseason is for teams to work out new players, try new plays, pretty much just check out the team and get guys in shape, it should also be a time to expand your fan base. Why settle for 14,000 at the ACC when you could have 19,800 with maybe 3,000 of that population being new to the Raptors (maybe even new to basketball)? If they are exposed to an exciting style of game (which the Raptors play), then they will be more than likely to come out during the season, allowing the team to sell out more games (especially those ones where teams like the Hawks are in town…although they are getting better). Beyond that, with the attendance comes the merchandise, Raptors TV, etc.
It just doesn’t seem like the Raptors organization is thinking about the big picture here. I tend to save more of my money for regular season tickets, but will occasionally drop in on a preseason game, but only up top. Seems like they are missing an opportunity to grow the game and the team.