Three case studies.
When I lived in Portland I would attend a game every once in a while when the product was worth watching. That hasn't been the case for many years. I can only guess what the average season ticket price is nowadays but I have a hard time generating any sympathy for those who can afford to shell out that kind of coin. No invested ownership, rookie GM who looks like an auto mechanic, no-name coach, etc. I don't watch the NBA anymore. It's just jack up threes or take sixteen steps on the way to the hoop for a slam.
In 1976 -1979 I owned a bar on 6th in Seattle just North of Denny. The monorail ran parallel. The Seattle Sonics played at the arena at Seattle Center and me and a bunch of friends would walk the short distance to watch the games. The cheap seats were....drum roll....$6. We were regulars, never missed a home game or playoffs. I had four season tickets to the Seahawks and Washington Huskies. I believe if memory serves me, the Husky tickets were $110 each for the year and Seahawks more but less than $500. I remember when panty hose wearing Broadway Joe Namoth signed a contract for....drum roll...$400,000, we were shocked.
Now I watch games from my man cave here in Nevada on a 120" screen, the beer, popcorn and snacks are reasonable..delivered fresh from the kitchen. I dropped the Huskies three years ago, my last season tickets, the grandkids were not interested in attending nor my daughters and their husbands anymore. Frankly, the schools and pro leagues and players have ruined the experience, the greed is overwhelming. Screw them.
I'm a san jose sharks season ticket holder. 4 yrs no playoffs but prices kept rising until this year. The fans voted with their feet as the average attendance has been about 5k per night not the 11k tickets distrubuted that gets reported. Surprise our season ticket went down with a 2/3 empty building.
Dont show up and dont renew and the owners get the messgae fast.
I have given up on the Blazers until Jody Allen sells the team. High prices, poor product. Will only watch and support on tv.
I was a quarter-season ticket holder for about 10 years, and enjoyed going to the games. In 2021, I decide to not renew, mostly due to rising prices and declining quality of play. But, the following also played into my decision:
--Parking became more expensive and difficult at the Rose Quarter, and (while less expensive) more dangerous (risk of car break-ins) on the neighboring streets and private lots.
--Repeated delays on TriMet MAX due to "passenger issues," "mechanical issues," and "police activity" resulted in using public transit to the Rose Quarter being impractical (needed to allow an extra hour), forcing me to drive 25 miles each way and overpay for safe parking
--General decline in on-street public safety in the Rose Quarter and Lloyd districts
--Overpriced food and beverage (and declining quality) in the Mode Center
--Stale and tired in-game experience (uninspired pre-game, timeout, and halftime entertainment; sound effects during play; crummy background music)
I miss going to the games. It was a great way to get through the dark PNW winters, and I do enjoy watching good basketball. But, until the Blazers improve the in-arena experience, the NBA plays better fundamental basketball, and the City of Portland cleans up the city and makes it safer, I'll stay home in the suburbs and listen to the games on the radio. (I don't do cable or satellite TV due to cost.)
The NBA needs to recapture the 1980s and early 1990s. The current brand of "pro basketball" (iso 3-pt shots and traveling to the basket for dunks) is unwatchable. Defense has taken a back seat to offense. Too many players and coaches "phone it in" each night. Too much emphasis on superstars, superteams, and big-market teams at the expense of the team game, as well as quality fundamental play and coaching. The NBA always seems to preach "respect for the game." They need to practice what they preach. Focus on quality, not quantity.
If you don’t like it, don’t buy it! Don’t buy until you like it. I recommend high school basketball. The kids try hard and play hard and some are pretty decent players. Spend a few Friday nights at your local high school you just might be surprised how much you will like it. Some of the leagues have the girls playing the early game and the boys following, you’ll see two games for the price of one. And don’t forget to buy some popcorn 🍿 it helps support the school athletics
The Blazers lost my support during the ‘Jail Era’.
I tried to support, however when my wife worked in the same building where they had an office to ‘showcase’ the luxury suites & I had a few minutes before taking her to lunch, I went in to look around. Dressed in business casual, the woman who addressed me said, ‘you don’t look like someone who could afford this!’ I turned around & walked out & haven’t nor will I ever attend a game there.
Based on the revenue sharing payments where the Blazers were the #2 team receiving the highest payments, the teams does not seem to be doing well financially. It's not that they are losing money but to be the 2nd highest receiver of revenue sharing payments seems to indicate a problem.
Gave up my season tickets after 16 years. Wasn't an easy decision. Reasons #1 struggled to resell tickets at what I paid. #2 Parking prices are outrageous. When you need ADA parking you don't have many choices. #3 limit of ADA seating available now, unless you already have it. I feel I can buy last minute tickets for most games if I really want to go and will save money. It wasn't an easy decision and I was on the fence, but this latest tank put it over the top. I even tried to find people to divide up the season into 4 or 5 people per my reps idea. Couldn't find people that want to do it.
Also can we comment on the Ticket Office's use of Dynamic Pricing, a concept that MLB's San Francisco Giants first used and now much of the Pro Fanchises and some elite NCAA programs have adopted.
So a seat for a premium team would sell for $400-600 a seat, buuut when Oklahoma City or Orlando is at Moda the same seat is $70-110.
Sure it's not the 10,000-25k or more that the die-hard fan purchases every Summer. But the Moda Center back when the franchise was struggling to fill seats gave fans FOUR SEATS, FOUR DOGS & SODAS IN THE UPPER BOWL FOR $40. Granted salaries have skyrocketed and $40 doesn't get you a parking space these days. But when "load management" or tanking nets a Summer League Starting Five; no wonder the fans are crying and demanding a discount.
All this down the stretch for one/two additional ping pong balls, the math like the on-court product just doesn't add up.
How many more seasons will the Front Office make empty promises to Damian Lillard & his loyal fans? We have a lifetime but Dame Time in Portland, does have an expiration date.
Look, it’s simply supply and demand. In all three instances prices are going up and the demand seems like it’s reaching its peak to where the law of diminishing returns is about to take place. Until Portland gets an infusion of excitement from the “owner” that this is a viable product or they sell to somebody that’s enthused about making real improvements, you will start seeing less and less season ticket holders renewing. When that happens, miraculously the prices will drop. Then if the Blazers have a great season, prices will go up at a higher rate than before. It’s entertainment just like a concert. NBA basketball and the Blazers just don’t react accordingly.
The NBA has been a declining product for a long time. Now, it's happening at a rapid pace and the league and commissioner are completely out of touch.
Take the all-star game. The ratings for that game were down 29% from 2022. The ratings are down all over the place with the league.
As for the Blazers, they like many other franchises have absolutely no chance to compete for a championship. For the most part, fans at the games are now people who were given tickets or lifers. I'll tune in for the playoffs but the regular season NBA is simply not a good product.
Was at the game last night and it was pretty bad! I had bought a box and brought 15 friends to watch the game. A couple had never been to a Trailblazers game…i was so embarrassed and also felt cheated.
At least the friendships and conversations were good.
Not sure I’ll commit next season to this.
The mediocrity in both the Blazers business side and team side will continue until Jody Allen and Bert Kolde are 100% out the the picture. Allen doesn’t have much of an interest overall, and everything Kolde touches turns to crap. I used to be a diehard Blazers fan, but hardly pay attention now. It’s also sad to see Lillard’s prime just wasting away. I really wonder how much longer Lillard will want to stay here without major changes (both ownership and player wise).
It’s also time for the NBA to address the “load management” issue. Either reduce the length of the season, or make players play.
'The point of this piece isn’t to blast the Blazers'. Go ahead and blast, John. Please be patient with me here, I have a few observations/rants to make on TrailBlazers, Inc.
1. A lifelong Blazers fan, I have been to perhaps a dozen games since 1978 in both the MC and Rose Garden/Moda. Never had to pay for a ticket - but could have if I needed to - because of the generosity of friends and business associates. Though I have usually earned a nice living, I never considered buying season tix. Other priorities.
2. Portland has never been and likely never will be a marquee NBA city - but that is not an adequate excuse for the average-to-poor product they have put on the court the last, I don't know, ten years (apologies to Dame and the other players who have tried their best). See: Utah, Sacramento, Milwaukee.
3. I now live 22 time zones and a hemisphere away from Portland - and happily pay for League Pass. For an annual fee which is less than half of what one upper level ticket, for one game, costs, I watch more hoops now than I ever have - in HD and without commercials. At today's prices, game tickets would not interest me if I lived across the street from Moda. If the Blazers want to improve the in-arena experience for fans, start by improving the team. The kiss cam and t-shirt cannons are tired. Shoot, bring back the guy who juggles chainsaws.
4. Jody Allen: For the love of God, and for Trailblazers fans around the world who are begging you to do so, please sell the franchise per your brothers wishes.
5. Trade (gulp) Dame while he has value and start over. Give him the fresh start he deserves and build a new team with young talent.
I think it’ll depend on a fan’s personal threshold at Moda. I, for one, upgraded my seats to the club sections of Autzen, a few years ago, when I tired of the no-shade Septembers, hard bleachers and downpours in November. The latest fan experiences are my dream scenario for sporting events, nowadays. But as I get older, I would definitely have a tough time paying the bill, if the Ducks went 2-10 each year….