The big news in Atlanta sports today is the Hawks owner making comments about why the fan attendance is sparse. The other big storyline in Atlanta right now is the with the Braves, and how 1) they suck and 2) are building a new stadium in Cobb County (where the season ticket holders are).
I have to admit I don’t follow the NBA all that closely, and I haven’t been to a Hawks game in a long, long time (it was at the Omni and Mookie Blaylock was point guard), and living in the middle Georgia I don’t get up to as many Braves games as I’d like.
But the thing these owners don’t get that if you put a good product on the field, fans will come. Phillips has a good crowd when the Heat, Lakers or Celtics come to town. I’ve been to Braves games when the Red Sox, Yankees and Cubs come in. It is a packed house.
For all the talk about fan attendance at colleges, if you have a successful team, fans will show up. Tennessee had their first sellout in many years the first weekend against Utah State. Why? because for years Tennessee was awful and this year there was some finally some fan excitement and hope for Tennessee. If Georgia is 10-0 going into Charleston Southern, it will be a bigger crowd an Sanford than if Georgia is 5-3. I traveled to the Auburn game in 2012. Walking around campus, the Auburn fans were more interested in rooting against Alabama playing Texas A&M than they were about the Georgia game. The attendance to that game was not at capacity, and most fans left at halftime when the game was starting to get out of hand.
I bet Auburn fans were showing up in droves last season.
If the Braves, Hawks, Falcons (or even Georgia) want fans to show up, don’t spend money on new stadiums in the suburbs.
Spend money on putting a quality product on the field. This season, the Braves did absolutely nothing to improve their team at the trade deadline. While a team like Oakland, who is in a smaller market and spends less money than the Braves, got Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija. The Braves are never in the conversation for the big superstar free agent during the offseason. Put an exciting lineup out there with superstar players that win games.
Win games, and the fans will come and spend money on food, souvenirs, etc.