As was dropped in the recap of the Grizzlies game, attendance on a weekday night hosting an injured bad team from Memphis was poor!
The best word to describe the Bulls’ lackluster victory over Memphis on Wednesday night was quiet.
That means it was literally quiet. No atmosphere at all inside the United Center.
There’s a good reason for that. The announced crowd of 15,017 was the smallest for a Bulls game in 15 years. They drew 14,403 on Dec. 16, 2004, against Milwaukee.
This was made worse on Thursday with the players and head coach being asked about it.
Zach LaVine had a good answer, basically saying they want to win for their own achievement, and then fans will come.
Head Coach Jim Boylen had more of his usual head-swiveling word-grasping.
Jim Boylen discusses the low attendance at the United Center last night (15,017) (1/3) pic.twitter.com/LthcfaqsBZ— Tony Gill (@thetonygill) December 5, 2019
Saying “I feel supported by the fans”, well, I can’t tell Boylen how to feel. But beyond that there’s nothing too wrong in what he said. I think Boylen was starting to, like he has in the past, imply that fans will come out to see “guys playing hard and competing”, when a more predictive driver is star power and winning games and those boring things the Bulls have deliberately punted on for years. Stuff that the Bulls can address by firing Jim Boylen and nuking the whole front office and ownership mindset.
But I don’t even believe the relative dip in fan turnout is much of a story. The Bulls still do extremely well and will do so forever while they have the 3rd largest market in the country to themselves. Sure, the capacity percentage is way down, but they’re still 6th in the league in overall attendance, and probably higher than that in ticket revenue given the prices.
What’s funny is that Jim Boylen isn’t focused on tickets anymore! The owner of the team...well, his son...was very much into how much Boylen cared about the season ticket holders last year. Personally meeting with them before games and literally selling renewals. Must’ve been an org chart reshuffling?
(always remember: the Bulls staff lists more analytics resources towards tickets than basketball)
I don’t support boycotts, you can do what you want with your money. But maybe if you are going to go the Bulls home arena, buy the tickets off the secondary market and sneak bags of beer in your pants? I don’t think it’s getting anywhere near the level of actually affecting the bottom line (and thus ownership’s interest in it) but maybe if we all band together and pretend like it is a big deal, it’ll become one?