World Sports

Issue date: April 17, 2017

NBA sets new regular season attendance record

IT WAS a banner regular season anew for the National Basketball Association as it set a record attendance number.

In figures released recently, The Association said for the third straight year, fan attendance was at an all-time high with 21,997,412 fans attending games during the 2016-2017 regular season. The latest figure topped last year’s record of 21,972,129.

Rounding out the top five regular season attendances all time, the NBA said, are the 21,926,548 fans (2014-2015), 21,841,480 (2006-2007), and 21,595,804 (2005-2006).

Additionally, the rise in number also saw an improved average attendance of 17,884 from 2015-2016’s 17,864, while also marking the 13th straight season that league attendance has been at least 90% or more of arena capacity (94%).

Broken down, the ESPN Web site said the Chicago Bulls had the highest average fan attendance with 21,680, followed by the defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers (20,562), Toronto Raptors (19,830), Dallas Mavericks (19,789) and New York Knicks (19,774).

The Denver Nuggets, meanwhile, had the lowest average of 14,770.

Along with record-setting attendance, the NBA set all-time marks as well for social media and retail.

The league established new records across social media this season for impressions (42.6 billion, +40%) and video views (8.2 billion, +96%).

Since the end of the 2015-2016 regular season, 282 million new fans have joined the NBA’s social media community -- a 27% increase. Overall, the league has more than 1.3 billion likes and followers combined across all league, team, and player social platforms worldwide.

In addition, posted record-breaking sales during the 2016-2017 regular season, up 15%.

Meanwhile, prior to the start of the NBA playoffs yesterday, the NBA released the list of 37 game officials who earned spots to work in the first round of the 2017 postseason, who it touted as a group that is “professional and dedicated to their craft.”

“We are extremely proud of these referees for their professionalism and dedication to their craft,” said Byron Spruell, NBA President for League Operations.

“Our staff is made up of the best referees in the world, which means our playoff roster represents the best of the best,” he added.

As per procedure, playoff officials are selected by the NBA Referee Operations management team based on their performance throughout the season. Officials will be evaluated after each round of the playoffs to determine future advancement in the 2017 postseason.

“Our referees perform under great scrutiny and understand they are consistently being evaluated,” said Mike Bantom, NBA executive vice-president for Referee Operations, for his part, said. Adding, “For any NBA official, advancing to the playoffs is a well-earned honor.”

The officials who comprise the 2017 playoff roster average more than 18 years of NBA experience and 12 years of playoff experience, and they total nearly 700 years of service.

Referees assigned to first-round games include the five active officials with the most playoff experience: Danny Crawford (290 postseason games), Ron Garretson (221), Ken Mauer (174), Mike Callahan (170) and Monty McCutchen (137).

This year’s playoff staff has seven officials (19%) with 20 or more years of playoff experience, highlighted by Messrs. Crawford and Garretson, who will be officiating in the playoffs for the 29th season each. -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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