Wells Fargo Philadelphia 76ers

With the announcement the team plans to slash ticket prices once the 2011-12 NBA season eventually gets underway, the Philadelphia 76ers new ownership group is already taking steps to appease the franchise’s downtrodden fanbase. The ownership group, which includes actor Will Smith and is led by Apollo Management LP co-founder Joshua Harris, was only just approved Monday by NBA owners to purchase the team from cable television giant Comcast- Spectacor.

New chief executive officer Adam Aron detailed the price cuts saying that 9,000 individual game 76ers tickets will be discounted by 50% or more for every game this coming season. Tickets in the lower bowl of the Wells Fargo Center will be had for as little as $29, a 46% decrease from the cheapest comparable seats last season. Another drastic cut, center court tickets in row 8 of the mezzanine bowl will go for $20, less than half the $56 price tag they were fetching previously.

At SeatGeek we have the best data on secondary market ticket demand so we wanted to take a closer look to see if these changes made sense. The data is below:

76ers Reg. Season Ticket Price Comparison 2010-11

Rank Team Avg. Reg. Season Price 2010-11
14 Washington Wizards $66.74
15 Memphis Grizzlies $65.97
16 Atlanta Hawks $60.36
17 Philadelphia 76ers $59.96
18 Portland Trail Blazers $59.38
19 Oklahoma City Thunder $59.14
20 Cleveland Cavaliers $58.34

Although the 76ers were middle of the pack last season as far as regular season secondary ticket market demand is concerned, our preseason rankings place them even farther down the rankings into the bottom third of the league. The 76ers rank 20th out of 30 NBA teams in preseason NBA ticket prices.

Aron made it clear that these measures would only apply to individual seats and not season tickets, but assures long-time fans he and controlling owner Harris are dedicated to improving the on-court product in Philly. “The days of the suffering season ticket holder are in your past, not in your future,” Aron said. “We’re going to give you a much better show, and we’re going to try to put an exciting winning team on the court.”

This strategy could be just the ticket (terrible pun) to gain support with a rocky fanbase. In a saturated local market with successful franchises like the Eagles and Flyers already serving themselves generous slices of the disposable income pie, it’s moves like this that could finally allow the 76ers to gain some market share.