Sunday Stats - Raptors' Attendance and On-Court Performance

Anyone see Inception yet?

Howland and I and some friends checked it out last night and have to say, it's pretty impressive.

Sure, there are some major similarities between it and the Matrix, and the various "levels" Leo and crew go through seemed akin to my favourite video game of all time, Myst...but talk about some very thought-provoking ideas.

Oh, and a few cool effects.

I woke up this morning still thinking about the movie and its various complexities, but beyond that, how enjoyable a film experience it was.  I mean, at its conclusion, the packed theatre broke out in applause, something that I hadn't witnessed since Dark Knight (ironically directed by the same person as Inception.)

It's this idea of "entertainment value" that I wanted to touch on this morning, specifically in regard to the Raptors.

Bryan Colangelo has already noted that he's got an exciting, young team to work with next year, and perhaps that will be enough to keep the fans in the seats.  Right now on paper, there doesn't look to be the talent or skill set diversity needed to be a playoff contender, so the hope is that this dynamic and athletic bunch will create enough excitement in terms of the on-court product to help offset that.

Translation: If you're going to lose a good chunk of games, you might as well do it in exciting fashion. 

Will this be enough though to keep the fans in the seats?

Last year the Toronto Raptors averaged 17,897 fans per game at the ACC, good for 14th in the league.  While indeed this was above the league average, it also marked the lowest average attendance for the team under Colangelo's tenure.  Previously the team had hit marks of 18,773 and 19,435, so with the exception of year one, like the team's performance, attendance has been trending downwards.

Under BC, Toronto has averaged 18,591 fans per home game, good enough for 10th best in the league.  However since not all arenas are constructed the same size, better to examine percentage of tickets sold on average during that same time period.

That picture isn't quite as pretty, and while a "93% of capacity used on average" metric doesn't sound bad, it's actually not great either, lagging behind almost half the NBA.

And looking at the correlation between attendance and on-court performance, could we expect to see another big drop in "capacity-used" next season?

By examining the lean years prior to Colangelo's arrival where the ACC saw about an average of 17,100 fans per game, you'd have to say this scenario is quite plausible.

That probably too explains why a certain season ticket holder recently told me that Colangelo personally called him and spoke with him for over a half hour, trying to convince him to re-up his season tickets.

In the end, we know that winning fills arenas, and in the absence of Chris Bosh and likely W's, it appears the Raptors and MLSE are being forced to go "all in" on Toronto's young-gunz and hopefully a more exciting brand of basketball than in seasons' past.

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