The Sixers franchise was in desperate need of changes when new ownership officially took over in October. Despite trotting out a team who's made the playoffs three of the last four season, the Sixers were dead last in attendance in 2010-11 and second to last in 2009-10. No, the Sixers haven't been remotely close to championship material since 2001, but they feature one of the most young and exciting teams in basketball. There's no reason their attendance should be so abysmal.
I cannot speak from experience, unfortunately, because I have yet to make it out to the Wells Fargo Center for a Sixers game, but I've been to plenty of sporting events in my life – including NBA Finals games in the Garden and Monday Night Football games in the lavish Cowboys Stadium – but I know how important "the experience" of a game is these days. Obviously the on-the-court product is ultimately what will put fans in the seats, but with HDTVs, 3D TVs, Twitter, the internet, Snuggies, Coors Light cans that turn blue when they're cold and La-Z Boys that become more and more comfortable each year, if the viewing experience of a live sporting event doesn't match the always-improving viewing experience from home, attendance will suffer, plain and simple.
The new ownership, led by CEO Adam Aron, clearly understands this concept. The revolution of the fans' relationship with the franchise over the past two months has been phenomenal and refreshing. The new owners have been completely transparent and receptive since taking over. Make the jump for a list of changes and campaigns they've done/doing since October, both to improve the on-court experience and relationship with the fans.
A suggestion box for fans' input on the team, both on and off the court. Aron claims they read each and every suggestion, and they've already made some changes to prove it.
Everybody hated Hip-Hop so they decided to dump him and get a new mascot. They came up with three options, but are ultimately letting the fans choose the new mascot via online vote.
CEO and Co-Owner Adam Aron is on Twitter, and provided insightful and genuine-seeming tweets. I like that he keeps in constant contact with fans, answers questions, takes suggestions and generally keeps everybody in the loop. A must follow.
Speaks for itself.
Again, speaks for itself.
"We said from the beginning that the Sixers were going to be world class and cutting edge in everything we do, and our hiring perhaps the best theatrical lighting designers in the world is one of many steps the 76ers are taking in improving the atmosphere at the Wells Fargo Center during our games," Aron said. "Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer bring incomparable talent for lighting the entertainment portions of the total game experience surrounding Sixers games."
"It will be a unique thrill for Sixers fans to hear the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra play the National Anthem, accompanied live by Ayla Brown," Aron said, "with a stirring arrangement recorded specifically for the Sixers, this combination is likely to give you goose bumps. What a way to start games at the Wells Fargo Center."
The lighting and national anthem are just cool little additions that I'm sure will enhance the experience of Sixers games.
I'm not sure who had more to do with this, the new owners or Will Smith, but a smart idea to involve yourself with a hometown Mega-Star. Fresh Prince is still my favorite show of all time, and this guarantees Carlton Cam forever, right?
The Sixers new owners clearly have a plan and have executed perfectly thus far. Fans are excited about the Sixers again, and as a long-time fan/blogger myself I can say that I could not be happier with the way the new regime has handled themselves. It's clear they're up-to-date with the times. Ultimately they'll be judged based on building a champion, but Rome wasn't built in a day. The only real basketball move made on the new owners' watch was the re-signing of Thaddeus Young. I've been against locking up Thad for some time now, but they were able to sign him to a very reasonable and respectable extension, so I endorse the move.
If they plan and execute a strategy on-the-court as well as they have their off-the-court strategy thus far, Sixers fans should have a lot to look forward to in the coming years. That was the biggest complaint with the old regime. No plan, just Basketball Sense. Plans are good, and the Sixers new owners, led by Aron, seem to have just that.