The NBA’s 2013-14 schedule was released Tuesday, and the very first game of the season is right here in Indianapolis. The Pacers host Orlando and former IU star Victor Oladipo.
It will be intriguing to see how many No. 4 IU jerseys are in the stands for that game.
One of the storylines surrounding the Pacers’ climb back to success in the years since the Malice at the Palace has been the state’s reluctance to come out and support the team. The Pacers were 25th in the NBA in average attendance last year despite being a contender in the Eastern Conference.
Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s a reluctance to jump on the bandwagon until the Pacers win, or at least play for, an NBA title. There are any number of factors for the low attendance.
It doesn’t help that the Pacers will spend the first two months of the season, and maybe the first three, vying with the Colts for attention. The NFL’s media dominance means everybody else is playing for second place.
There’s also college basketball to draw fans away from the Pacers. That might be less of a problem this season — IU won’t be as good, Butler has a new coach, and Purdue is trying to bounce back from a losing season.
If the Colts aren’t as successful this season, if the state’s college basketball teams have down years, and the Pacers get off to a hot start, then maybe we see attendance soar.
If not? Well, Cody Zeller comes back to Indiana with the Bobcats on Dec. 13. Break out the 40s.