Monday, January 12, 2004

In Attendance.. I was very lucky to get stellar seats to Friday night's game against the Blazers. I mean real stellar seats. They were 1st row across from the Bulls Bench (which was technically behind 3 rows of chairs). And the funny thing about that game was that in the papers the next day they made special note of the Fans' reaction to Eddy Curry's play.I personally didn't think the booing was an extraordinary reaction considering the awful basketball I saw in the previous 2 Bulls' games I saw. Then again, frustration has been growing in even a "patient" fan like myself, so I can see why Eddy was the focus of the fans that night. He was blocked several times down low, and when he did get a shot off, they frequently fell short. And like I've said several times already, that kind of play (even from a 20-year-old) is unacceptable for such a potential post weapon. What I like to see though is a nice comeback performance the next night in the win over New Orleans, scoring 19 points and making 13 out of 14 foul shots. I didn't get to see the game, but that foul shot total at the very least shows aggressiveness.

But more on the fans....this article from the Sun-Times on saturday was an interesting read, regarding the disparity between attendance figures of the Bulls and Blackhawks, the main tenants of the United Center. That stat isn't quite as interesting as the fact that the team has the the the 3rd highest average attendance in the league. For a team with such an awful record, this is probably astounding to those outside of the Chicago area. But this quote explains most of it:

"During the 1990s, when we were winning all those championships, we worked really hard to prepare for the inevitable downturn as our players aged, and buy our basketball department the time it needed to retool the product,'' Bulls vice president of business operations Steve Schanwald said. "This was why we promoted and built a 25,000-name season-ticket waiting list back in the '90s. "I think all these things have paid off for us the last six years and are still paying off today. And [Jerry] Reinsdorf has always given us the resources we needed to keep things going and implement his vision.''
So while the attendance remains strong, most of those season ticket holders are the corporate types that still remember the days when the Bulls were an insanely hot ticket. Undoubtedly these seats are now tougher to give away than they used to, which is fine by me if I benefit :). But I imagine as the losing continues, more and more seats will be given up entirely as the fans themselves give up hope that the party days of the '90s will return. And judging by fan reaction in the games I've been to, that may come sooner than later.