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Is Philly an NBA Town?

There simply are less die hard Sixer fans than for the other local teams. There are plenty of casual fans, but the team has not been good enough to keep them engaged for long.

I'm a casual baseball fan. I'll follow the Phillies somewhat closely if I think they have a chance to win it all. But until recently I lacked faith in the organization, so I just sort of ignored them.

In the same way I think most fans lack faith in the Sixers organization to reward them with a winner anytime soon.

I see my Dad as a typical Philadelphia sports fan. There are just too many other good options for him to follow, and he just dismisses the Sixers as not worth his attention.
I talk to my him about sports daily. He's a Temple grad so follows the hoops team. He follows the Eagles, Flyers and Phillies closely. He will talk Sixers, but its like pulling teeth. he dismisses them as a team going nowhere. He's also a casual PSU fan, but since they usually win he stay more engaged.

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James Beale reply to tk76 on Nov 23 at 17:07
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First of all, thanks Brian for the thread and nuanced response. I think your takeaway is a smart one.

Now, TK, I believe you're right. The 76ers have less die-hard fans than the other teams in the city, college included. I think that means when the 76ers are winning the people who are showing up are casual fans. They're the same fans that are going to show up when the Lakers come into town.

My point from there is that those fans exist in every city. Winning teams draw home and away. When the 76ers were really good, people came out everywhere to see them – and did so measurably less here than across the nation. Simmons’ guess as to why was race, mine is the prevalence of local options, which in a non-transient city matters.

I'm not sure either is perfect, and I'm happy the discussion is being had.

Great job on the piece, by the way. Glad to have something new to think about where the Sixers are concerned.

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JohnMagee reply to James Beale on Nov 23 at 17:17
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I think any team that goes into a 'lull' from 83 to 2001 like the sixers needs more than one good season to pull the fans back - not a 'one hit wonder' like the 2001 sixers were.

Plus Iverson was a polarizing figure

Looking back, how much of a lull was it? From 80-91 they missed the playoffs once. The only real lull was from Barkley's departure to Larry Brown's entrance. God was that a dark time. They've also been in the playoffs 8 of the past 11 seasons, and two in a row.

I know there's a huge difference between just making the playoffs and contending, but when you look around the league, how many teams that are out-drawing the Sixers have had anywhere near that kind of success over the past 29 years, over the past decade, or even over the past two years?

You know, it's funny. My dad grew up in Philly (he went to Temple too) and loved all the teams, but when he got older for the life of me I couldn't get him to even watch a regular season Sixers game. Right around the time they traded Barkley he started saying, "Regular season basketball is garbage. No one plays defense until the playoffs start. It's not worth watching."

I don't think that's a rare feeling among older Philly fans. The younger fans, I don't know. I'm not really in touch with any of them, I have no idea what they care about.

Probably my favorite sports memory (until my son is old enough for me to make some new ones with him) is going to this game with him a couple years before he died. The Wach was insane that night.

That "10 steal game" was amazing. Wish I could have been there to see it live. The only semi-recent Sixer game I was at with my dad had me thinking how the Wach lacks the feel that the Spectrum had. Maybe it was a lack of fan involvement, but I felt separated from the action.

I mostly associate baseball games with my dad. he has the same line about regular season NBA meaning nothing... it is a popular refrain (I'm sure we'll have similar grumpy old men refrains after a few more decades of being Sixer fans.)

i think at this point most philadelphia fans have just trained themselves to be skeptical. it wasn't until the phillies finally won the WS that the city actually embraced them, which we saw as they sold out nearly every home game over the summer. jroll was partially right when he called us front-runners. but we have good reason, after being constantly let down year after year we won't allow ourselves to be foolish & feel the disappointment when the team ultimately fails again. the 76ers will have to run away with the conference for the fans to come back. or sign lebron.

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Charlie Ace on Nov 23 at 16:40
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I'm surprised by Simmons dumb remark. I guess he doesn't consider Billy Cunningham "awesome," but he's too young to remember him. If he had played for the Celtics, Simmons would know about him.

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JohnMagee reply to Charlie Ace on Nov 23 at 17:12
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I'm never surprised by a dumb remark by simmons

Read the book. I love Simmons and can acknowledge he does see things towards the Celtics point of view, but he knows that he is not objective either. I like him because he entertains, but to say he doesn't know basketball or only the Celtics is crazy. Case in point, he ranks Billy C as the 47th greatest player of all time, right in between James Worthy and Hal Greer. The guy pushes buttons and isn't objective at all, but he knows his hoops.

Take a look at this, it has some numbers that compare it to hockey-
http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/hofmann/Flyers_vs_Sixers_popularity_contest.html

I think I have come to grips with the sad reality that we aren't completely a pro basketball town. The attendance figures are embarrassing When the Sixers made the finals, the city was alive and crazy with Sixers passion. I felt it greatly because my principal was Pat Croce's good luck charm aunt who sat in his box for all of the games. There were Sixers flags all over the city, but a lot of people can't name anyone on the Sixers now. I will say that my dad wrote that blog entry and from my experience, he does like hockey a little more than pro hoops. He is kind of like the rest of the city, pays attention to what the Sixers are doing, but really enjoys the Big 5 battles as far as hoops go. And above all, the Eagles (and even more now)and Phils are king. That is the other key, it is the best college hoops town in American and from experience, a great place to play high school ball. I wish the Sixers were more popular, but the Flyers draw year in and year out and are one of the best fan bases in sports. I don't think the Sixers have that staying power. I guess the Flyers are ultra-competitive every year, but to me it goes deeper than that.

A great basketball city? Of course, one of the best. A great pro basketball city? Ehhhh...

Those ratings numbers are an eye-opener. I don't see how you can really explain them away, especially among young fans. Goes completely against everything you hear nationally.

Among the ownership and higher ups which is more popular... the Sixers or the Flyers?

I'm not sure Snider or Luuko would even watch a Sixers game if they were not put in charge of the team. That is pathetic but true.

Is it really possible the Flyers have more fans than the Sixers? Hockey is barely a major sport these days.

Flyers have a larger fanbase of passionate fans. But the Sixers can tap into more casual fans if they win.

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Rich reply to tk76 on Nov 23 at 18:26
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Yeah, I think that's the main point from this whole question.

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Rich reply to Brian on Nov 23 at 18:21
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I think the Sixers clearly have more fans because hockey is the least popular of the 4 major sports. Still, it's not laughable to compare the two because the Flyers have fans that come out to the games and are really passionate("the 20,000 fans who all go to the games" argument). I don't really follow hockey, but it's impossible to admit that Flyers home playoff games don't have vicious intensity. I don't know whether it's that the Sixers fans just don't go, but the Wach is always sold out for a Flyers playoff game and not so for the Sixers anymore.

"Win games, the fans will come. Simple as that."

Isn't that a reasonable conclusion for just about any city with a decent market size?

Is this really a Philly thing? I don't think so at all. Its a product issue.

Winning is part of the product as are the players. The players individually aren't really draws and that hasn't been made up for with significant (and consistent) enough winning as of late.

That's not necessarily the case. The Knicks still draw, Golden State is a mess, they're outdrawing us. Minnesota is 13th in the league in attendance.

There's a lot more going on in Philadelphia than in some of the other cities around the league, I'd say the Sixers have to do more to draw than most franchises.

I don't see the great mystery. We're dull as hell and haven't been any good for six years. In addition, the rest of the city's franchises are somewhere between great and just really respectable. We don't have a single star or especially interesting player, and their marketing's abysmal. They might actually gin up more interest if they lost every game from now until April. As is, they couldn't get any less relevant. In a sense, nothing's less interesting than season after season of .500 play.

As someone who lives near Philly I can tell you the real deal. Philadelphia is first and foremost a football town. Even if the Eagles suck(which has been awhile)they will still get a lot of press. The Phillies are popular now because they won recently...prior to that they were as non existant as the sixers are now. Hockey is on the same level as baseball.
Basketball is VERY popular if the team is good or average and on the way up. Philly has a very intelligent fan base and they know the team is maxed out on cap space AND terrible. Putting Iverson on this team would make virtually no difference. Hes an exciting player...or was...but no one cares if the team loses. Iguodola could own this town if the Sixers were good.
So each sport has the potential to capture the city...IF they are a contender. But only the Eagles can still be very relevant even if they are not contending. Philly is more passionate about the Eagles more than any other team in any other sport.

Eh, very valid arguments, I don't have much to say

When the Flyers, Eagles, and starting in the early Aughts, Phillies are always in contention for the title in some form the Sixers, who have no real star, become the red headed stepchild.

It's that simple. People don't care because the team sucks and has no identity/player you'd pay to watch constantly.

The Flyers fanbase is easily one of the best in hockey, if not in all of sports.

Whats up all, My spouse and i currently have a question. Has everybody been told that Rockberries is now growing in the market to various other countries and even forking out a great deal in advertising. These guys now have got TV advertisements located in Germany on Pro 7. They have also successfully done an IPO in Germany. Turns out to automatically be growing giant speedily. Doesn't somebody have any newer Detail relevant to Rockberries.com?


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