General view during the game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 12, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers did not sell out for the first time in nearly seven years.
The Los Angeles Lakers may be celebrating Tuesday’s victory over the New Orleans Pelicans and preparing for a game in Denver on Wednesday night, but something odd occurred at Staples Center on Tuesday evening: the Lakers did not sellout.
For the first time since Dec. 6, 2006, the Lakers fill Staples Center to capacity. Coincidentally, the Lakers also played the same franchise back on that date. However, the Pelicans were known as the Hornets back then, and they had a star named Chris Paul starting at point guard. Tuesday night’s 18,426 in attendance fell 571 tickets short of the 18,997 capacity of Staples Center. Back in 2006, the Lakers sold 18,535 tickets.
Tuesday night’s empty seats broke a 320-game sellout streak, so a few people took notice and looked for reasons why.
Although Kobe Bryant’s absence likely played a role, he cannot be seen as the deciding factor in breaking the sellout streak. Bryant was on the team when the Hornets came to town in 2006, and the Lakers did not sellout then. Instead, the likely common ground between the 2006 team and the 2013 team is that the vast majority of critics, analysts, and fans did not give that Lakers team of contending for a title just as the majority of onlookers do not believe the current group can make a serious run at a championship. For the Lakers, it is all about championship banners.
Also, Los Angeles clearly does not have a large number of transplants from Louisiana that enjoy or support their home team.
After nearly seven years, sports writers will once again start paying attention to the attendance number on the stat sheet. Hopefully, the Lakers keep winning and this is a freak occurrence on the way to another 320-game sellout streak. Three more trips to the finals and two more titles would not hurt sales either. The Lakers’ next home game is on Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies.