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Philadelphia 76ers: Will NBA's Final 2011-12 Home Opener Sell Out?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 24: Philadelphia 76ers fans cheer during the second half of their 86-82 win over the Miami Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 24, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Lake CruiseAnalyst IJanuary 6, 2012

Did the 3-2 Philadelphia 76ers create enough buzz in the City of Brotherly Love to fill their arena for their NBA home opener? Philly’s first home game of the season rocks and rolls this Friday, but will Wells Fargo Center be rocking?

Like a rock of ages, the Sixers have been a Philadelphia sports cornerstone since 1963. Now, the franchise hopes to have somewhat of a miracle happen—a sellout—to help rock their opponents.

Back in the day, according to the Bible, Moses struck a rock in the wilderness and drew water to feed the Children of Israel.

Now, the Sixers hope their home crowd flows into Wells Fargo like mighty waters for the team to feed off of.

Also, Philly’s hungry new owners want to avoid their worst nightmare—that the lockout sapped even more fan interest in the 76ers.

The new owners, therefore, have worked hard to reach out and reconnect with fans. Among their actions include lowering ticket prices, buying some of Dr. J’s memorabilia and including a Philly native (Will Smith) in the ownership group.

Therefore, it’ll be intriguing to see just how much the attempt to reconnect with fans impacts home attendance.

Despite the most grueling early schedule in the league, as true fans know, the exciting 76ers come home in second place behind Boston in the Atlantic Division. While Philadelphia opened with an unprecedented five-game road trip, their only losses came at Portland and Utah.

According to ESPN.com, after the first road trip the 76ers averaged 17,650 attendees.

In comparison, several NBA teams are averaging more than 19,000 attendees on the road, but several are also attracting less than the Sixers' amount.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Evan Turner #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball over Jason Smith #14 of the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena on January 4, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.   The 76ers defeated the Hornets 101-93.  NOTE TO U
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

With an average of over 22,000 fans per game, the Chicago Bulls lead the NBA in home attendance so far this season.

The Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat are the only other teams averaging over 20,000.

The Detroit Pistons have the lowest home attendance average so far this season, attracting just over 12,000 fans per game. The Hornets are next to last with an average of around 15,300.

If the Sixers can average somewhere between the Lakers, Knicks and Hawks, then I’d be impressed. That would be anywhere from 17-19,000.

The NBA’s average attendance last season was 17,319. Last year, averaging 14,751 people per game, Philadelphia ranked No. 25 of 30 in NBA home attendance.

Philadelphia also has a National Lacrosse League team, Villanova basketball, and an arena football squad for the Sixers to compete for love with. So in one of America’s most crowded professional sports towns, the 76ers could likely still lag behind the Phillies, Eagles and Flyers for home attendance.

But the 76ers don’t really have a household name, other than Andre Iguodala, that can put people in the seats.

After numerous rumors early last summer about Iguodala possibly leaving the Sixers, he’s been fantastic so far. If he’s not carrying the team, then he’s making the key plays even on his off-shot nights.

The 76ers also have an entertaining core of reserves who will provide the home fans with lots of excitement. Thaddeus Young, Louis Williams and Evan Turner are capable of scoring 20 points apiece on any given night. Their capabilities only increase at home.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Lou Williams #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball over Jarrett Jack #2 of the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena on January 4, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The 76ers defeated the Hornets 101-93.   NOTE TO
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Interestingly, the Wells Fargo Center is the only NBA venue yet to host a home game this season. All other teams have played at least two.

All that changes, though, this Friday when Detroit arrives to play the Sixers. I believe the 76ers have generated enough buzz to sell out the opener and help the Sixers rock the Pistons.

I’ll be watching, though, to see if attendance boosts in the wake of the 76ers playoff appearance and offseason moves. I’ll let you, my loyal readers; know how it went down—if the game was a sell out and if the house was rocking.

As for you all, stay down with me. Catch my appearances throughout this year for more entertaining renditions of Lake’s Liberty Ball Breakdown

Contact Lake Cruise: Lakecruise@att.net

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