It can be argued that no team has had it harder than the New Jersey Nets.
They haven’t won a game in 12 tries this year.
They don’t have many marketable players. There’s a lack of public transportation to their arena. They’ve fully committed to leaving the market for Brooklyn and they are waiting for a new owner to take power.
To the credit of Nets CEO Brett Yormark, the team has seemingly tried everything to jumpstart attendance, from giving away jerseys that have the opposing players on them to offering $10 lower bowl tickets as part of a “10 (losses) is enough” promotion for Tuesday night’s game. On Saturday, it’s not enough that the team is playing the New York Knicks, who also are struggling, the team is bringing in Dora The Explorer to help fill the arena with more families.
I haven’t received a phone call, but if the Nets were to ask me what they should do next, here’s the list I would give them.
10. Pay What You Want
The Nets drew less than 12,000 people when they had the $10 promotional tickets on Tuesday night. That obviously wasn’t cheap enough for some people. But there’s a fine line between devaluing your product and getting people into the arena. Here’s an idea. Let people in for free and have them pay what they think the game was worth. What people pay might shock the team. A London restaurant that asked customers to pay what they wanted told Reuters that customers paid 20 percent more than the original price because they were more cognizant of being fair.
9. All Halftime Shows Feature One-Hit Wonders
Since money is tight, halftime entertainment has to be cheap, but effective. People have a thing for one-hit wonders and one-hit wonder artists are cheap. Post the schedule online and the team could sell a significant amount of tickets. One night, Marc Cohn comes out and sings “Walking in Memphis.” Around the holidays, bring in Elmo & Patsy Shropshire to sing “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” And for the night you really need an attendance boost, the obvious choice would be Robert Matthew Van Winkle, who equals Vanilla Ice, of course.
8. Sign A Globetrotter
Garbage time never will be better. The team institutes a rule that if they are ever down by more than 25 points at any time in the game, they’ll put in the Harlem Globetrotter that the team signs. It won’t be just any Globetrotter though. They’ll sign either "Big Easy" or "Flight Time" to try to bring in fans of “The Amazing Race.”
7. Secure Big High School Basketball Games
Bring high school rivalries out of the school gym and into the home of the New Jersey Nets. There’s no fee to rent the Izod Center. The only fee is that everyone in attendance for the game, which will end as close to the Nets game as possible, has to buy a ticket –- and stay -- for the NBA game.
6. Have All Players Wear Number 6
The Nets have already retired 23, so that’s not an issue, but out of respect for LeBron, all Nets players will wear No. 6 for the rest of the season. After all, nothing can cure attendance ills more than signing LeBron next year.
5. You Make The Call
Use technology to the fullest by providing fans with electronic voting controllers. During certain timeouts, allow fans to make lineup changes. The choice of the majority wins out. On a highly promoted night, fans will get to release one of the team’s players.
4. Have Real “Night” Games
Get the black lights going, turn out the arena lights, line everything in neon, bring in huge lava lamps and play some games.
3. Offer the Fat Darrell
Putting an incredible food item on the menu can help sell tickets and one of the best sandwiches in the country is sold in New Jersey. It’s called the Fat Darrell and it’s a sandwich loved by Rutgers students that features chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks and french fries. Need I say more?
2. Host A “Free” Jay-Z/Beyonce Concert
First-come, first-serve free concert by Nets part-owner Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce. The catch? Everyone who takes the free seat has to buy a package of tickets to 15 Nets games.
1. Have David Blaine Sit On Izod Center Until Team Wins
Fans and broadcasters have done some serious stunts in honor of teams that haven’t won. Why not get the king of stunts himself involved? Here’s the catch. In order to drive up to see Blaine, you have to buy a ticket for each person in the car to a future game. For an extra fee, Blaine might be willing to make the arena in Brooklyn magically appear.
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