Can 5,500 people be enough?

With all the glitz and glamour of the NBL, our eyes turn to the stands to see just how filled they are in order to see what a new Melbourne side needs to be a success.

Melbourne United have been struggling to approach full houses despite a hot start and lots and lots of promos, Perth meanwhile have had two games at Perth Arena and have had 11,645 and 10,423 people attend it’s 14,846 person arena so those figures make Perth Arena 78.44% and 70.21% filled.

Hisense Arena can hold 10,500 for Basketball if areas are not curtained off and so if we ignore the curtained off areas and count every seat, the 7,009 people who attended the opening home game filled Hisense Arena only 66.75% of the arena’s maximum design and the second game had an attendance of 5,243 fans which filled 49.93% of Hisense Arena.

So based on those figures Perth had a higher percentage of seats filled by margins of 11.69% and 20.28% which is quite a significant total.

Now if we say Hisense tops out at 7,009 as the press said 7,009 was capacity then the second Hisense game was filled to 74.80% capacity which is a massive difference from 49.93% of a 10,500 seat Arena to 74.80% of a 7,009 seat configuration of the same arena.

The average total of games at Hisense so far is about 5,500, it could be slightly higher or lower due to one of the games not having a published total so United needs to fill Hisense Arena to about 75 to 80% of the apparent 7,009 person capacity to keep above average but then again management can take the covers off seats or add covers anytime which screws totals up yet make them look good or bad depends on who is reporting.

Now we know that United can get 10,000 people, we saw it last year and one occasion was hailed as a great day for Victorian Basketball even though Tigers and Magic fans would likely say ‘Been there, Done that’ and Fox Sports believes that attendance will go up in the summer and if they are right then perhaps United will challenge those levels especially if the hot form continues.

The South Dragons also came close to 10,000 on October 18 2008 when they got 9,308 people into Hisense Arena followed by 8,093 people on February 8 2009 and 8,201 and 8,922 to the second and fifth game of the Grand Final series on March 8 and 13 2009 all games were against the Melbourne Tigers which supports the theory that Victorian vs Victorian games bring out more fans than Victorian vs Other for attendance was down into the 3,000-4,000 range.

Hopefully somewhere out there a basketball consortium is seeing what we see and say right if we get a minimum of 5,500 to our games in the early part of the season then we can challenge Melbourne United in the NBL and then aim to keep pace as holidays are in full swing from December to late January.

Can it be done? With the cash being thrown around it is entirely possible heck it could even be a certainty if you pick a club that has runs on the board like a Melbourne Tigers, South Dragons, SE Melbourne Magic, Geelong Supercats (SEABL success story) and even the Coburg Giants who have been in the NBL and are playing elsewhere.

Every now and then teams who are formed from nothing are hits because they get the right playing address, right people behind desks, right staff and right players but rich people probably want to play it safe and go for an established team name, colours and history like what happened with the Sydney Kings and soon the Brisbane Bullets.

We can only hope.

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