The Pac-10 Tournament is held in Los Angeles every March, and the city appears to have very little interest in actually heading out to the Staples Center for the games. Lets take a look at some statistics for the past few days.
The opening round of the Pac-10 Tournament began on Wednesday, beginning with Oregon State vs. Stanford and closing out with ASU against Oregon.
The games were billed as a single ticket, and attendance was tallied at 7,814. The Staples Center has a maximum capacity of 19,079, which means that the arena was at only 40.9% capacity. Considering the quality of the competition, I'll give the fans a break -- no LA teams were playing, and the bottom of the Pac-10 is barely above high school basketball at times.
The quarterfinals, however, are a different story. A full day of games (four, to be exact) and both USC and UCLA were participating in the festivities. Here's a table breaking down the attendance from Thursday:
For a full slate of games featuring both Los Angeles schools, a highly-ranked Arizona Wildcats team, and 3 or 4 likely NCAA Tournament teams, this attendance is subpar at best.
When I was a senior in college a few years back, I covered the Pac-10 Tournament for House Of Sparky. James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph led the Sun Devils all the way to the title game before they lost in exciting fashion to the USC Trojans.
The crowd in the early days was underwhelming, but the finals were well-attended by Trojan fans. The game had an attendance of 16,988. Even when a local team was gunning for the Pac-10 title, the arena was still only 89% full. Is this acceptable? I say no.
Addicted to Quack has put together a plea to Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott to move the Pac-12 Tournament to various sites, thereby increasing the novelty factor and providing improved revenue for the conference. I'm a big proponent of this idea, and after the agreement to host the tournament expires in 2012, the Pac-12 should move it around. Los Angeles, you had your chance.