It's a given in any sports league that winning is the best way to sell tickets.
In an ultra-competitive league such as the NBA, the same holds true. For the Indiana Pacers, who, according to ESPN stats, finished dead last in league attendance in 2010-11, the time to start winning again is now.
The last time Conseco Fieldhouse sold all 41 home games was in its inaugural 1999-2000 season, the same season when they represented the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. That was when Larry Bird coached the team for the last time and he had Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson, Chris Mullin, Dale Davis, Sam Perkins and "The Dunking Dutchman" Rik Smits on his roster.
A year after that, Indiana plummeted to 10th in the NBA in attendance, as verified by ESPN. Ever since, they have been teetering somewhere in the middle of NBA league attendance figures in the mid-2000s to the bottom of the heap last season.
Since 2007, Indiana has made the playoffs just once. During those years, the Pacers average placing in terms of attendance is 29th.
The Pacers cracked the NBA's playoff barrier in 2010-11 as the Eastern Conference's eighth seed, but they qualified with a subpar 38-44 record in a woeful conference where nine teams finished with a .500 record or worse.
For Indiana fans, perhaps the most knowledgeable in the league given the state's love affair with basketball, making the playoffs with a record six games below .500 is not the standard they adhere.
Acquiring IUPUI mainstay and Broad Ripple HS standout George Hill on June 24 was a good start for Larry Bird and company. Should the 2011-2012 season be salvaged, the Pacers are wise to explore possible acquisitions that should get Indiana fans going.