• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

NBA’s Two Tourneys Drive Record Attendance

  • The league’s total attendance was 22,538,518 during the regular season.
  • November and March each saw their highest number of fans ever.
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

There are two big reasons why the NBA is heading into the playoffs with yet another attendance record to gloat about: The debut of the In-Season Tournament and the evolution of the Play-In Tournament, which is entering its fifth year.

Total attendance for the 2023–24 season, which ended Sunday, was 22,538,518. That’s about 300,000 more than last season, which had already broken the season-long mark set in ’17–18. The months of November and March had record turnouts, the former largely buoyed by group-play IST games. “Usually, you see a very strong start of the schedule and then maybe you’ll see a little bit of a lull in the November and December months, before picking back up going into the finish,” Jonathan Tillman, the NBA’s executive vice president of team marketing and business operations, tells Front Office Sports.

As the season concluded, tight sprints to the finish in both conferences saw 19 of the league’s 20 playoff seeds still up for grabs as late as last week. “There’s a lot of movement there and that just creates more interest in those games across the board,” Tillman says.

Is Bigger Better?

If the scheduling tweaks have been so successful already, the NBA should surely be considering some form of expansion for those tournaments, right? Maybe. “We’re very happy with the changes that have been made over the last couple of years,” Tillman says. “And at this point, it’s a matter of just monitoring those successes, further evaluating, and then deciding from there what tweaks in the margin could be made for next season.”

Whatever the case may be, don’t expect the NBA to remain stagnant. After the first season of play-in games, in 2020, the league quickly doubled the number of participating teams. And after just one rendition of the in-season tournament, the event has already been rebranded as the Emirates NBA Cup. The format for next season’s NBA Cup hasn’t been released yet, so there remains potential for changes in Year 2.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

The NBA’s Final Four May Not Be Exactly What the League Envisioned

This final four will need to lean on its own unique drama to draw big audiences.

Sports World’s Ground Zero: Dallas to Host NBA and NHL Conference Finals

American Airlines Center is the first arena to host NHL, NBA conference finals games in the same season since 2003.

WNBA’s Boom Time: Record Growth, Clark’s Debut, a Controversial Deal

League attendance is up by nearly a third, while the Liberty set a single-game ticketing record.

WNBA Investigating Las Vegas Tourism Arm’s $100K Payments to Aces Players

The sponsorship is worth more than several players’ salaries.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

The Next Era of the Harlem Globetrotters


Featured Today


‘This Is Semi-Pro’: Inside One Arena Football League Team’s Collapse

The collapse of the Georgia Force, as told by the players who lived it.
Michael Block signs autographs on the 18th hole during day three of practice for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.
May 19, 2024

‘I Prefer It This Way’: How Life Works for PGA Club Pros

Here’s how life works for the qualifiers at golf’s second major.
February 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; The grounds of the Capitol Building empty out following the conclusion of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019.
May 18, 2024

‘A Breathtaking Lobbying Campaign’: The NCAA’s Sophisticated Effort to Save Amateurism

Inside the carefully coordinated, multimillion-dollar operation to end the athletes’ rights era.
May 14, 2024

The WNBA Was Forged in Houston. Why Won’t It Go Back There?

Houston’s a perfect fit for expansion. The league isn’t considering it yet.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers

Historic Premier League Season Closes As U.S. Influence Expands

Man City can expect to receive roughly $79 million from the EPL’s system of merit payments.
May 17, 2024

The WNBA Rookies Are Creating a New Celebrity Row

Major celebs like Kim Kardashian and Latto are showing up for the newbies.
May 19, 2024

PGA Championship Drama Nearly Delivers a Major Boost to LIV Golf

Xander Schauffele takes home $3.3 million for his victory.

Major League Rugby’s Vision for American Rugby

How Major League Rugby is leading the Rugby renaissance in the U.S.
May 16, 2024

Preakness in Spotlight: Chance of a Triple Crown Winner Bolsters Status

The presence of Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan gives a big boost to the Triple Crown’s middle leg.
May 15, 2024

PGA Championship Setting Revenue Records, but LIV Drama Still Looms

The PGA Championship tees off Thursday morning at Valhalla Golf Club.
May 15, 2024

Caitlin Clark Debuts With WNBA’s Most-Watched Game in Decades

The game averaged 2.12 million viewers, the WNBA’s highest since 2001.
May 15, 2024

NFL Signs Three-Year Christmas Day Deal With Netflix

The streamer will show two holiday games in 2024 and one apiece in ’25 and ’26.