The Philadelphia 76ers are on the rise according to CEO Scott O’Neil’s claims about the team’s season ticket sales this offseason.
The Philadelphia 76ers are exciting going into the 2016 season. Although it’s tough for some of the fans outside of the Philadelphia fan base to realize it, the team that won just 10 games last season is going to be on the rise for the next few years.
The team added first overall pick Ben Simmons, as well as international draft and stash player Dario Saric. They also look prepared to debut Joel Embiid after he spent the first two seasons of his career injured. Although the team has some developing to do still, over the next few years, the team is going to be getting better, and winning more games.
The business side of the basketball for the Sixers has been dreary over the last few seasons. Sam Hinkie, the team’s previous general manager and president, implemented a roster building technique that was interesting. Clearly, the plan was to build a roster that would develop bad players, and lose games in the process, giving them a better chance at the top overall pick in the NBA Draft.
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The plan ultimately did work. In the third year of Hinkie’s reign, the Sixers got the first overall pick. But in the process of those three seasons, the seats at the Wells Fargo Center have been far from filled. Sure, there was the odd game where the Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers, or Golden State Warriors came to town where fans bought tickets to see the NBA’s best, but for the most part, the Center was, at best, 60 to 70 percent filled.
It was nice, because fans could get tickets to an NBA game on almost any night for $5-10 on StubHub. But things are changing, and they’re changing fast.
The Sixers ticket prices will rise this season, and the team is drawing more interest, even inside the Philadelphia niche. The sports fans there are crazy, but when the basketball team wasn’t doing well, season tickets were not in high demand. Now, however, they’re seeing massive growth.
According to Scott O’Neil, in an interview with ESPN 97.3, the team is, “number one in the league in new full-season ticket sales.”
O’Neil also went on to say that the team will be in the top 13 by the end of the season around the league in total tickets.
We should have seen this coming. Almost every other NBA team has a large amount of season ticket holders. When you go from being the worst team, to being an exciting team, you’re going to see a lot of growth. The rankings of increase in season ticket sales are probably based on percentages, so, for instance, a 25 percent increase in season ticket sales is a much lower raw number than if the Warriors were to increase by 25 percent (which they probably could not even do at this point).
Still, the numbers speak volumes. The ticket sales are certainly going up, anyway you splice it. While this can be looked at as a good thing, some who were huge supporters of Hinkie may see this as the team “selling out” and putting the business side of things in front of building a competitive basketball team.
The correlation is there — when Sam Hinkie left, the ticket sales went up. Of course, we’ll never get to see how things would have played out if Hinkie were to stay, but what we see now is that the team is on the upswing.