I have gotten a lot of emails from people who aren't very happy with the 76ers, more precisely, with the front office. And it has nothing to do, really, with the product that Sam Hinkie has put together during his now third season here, which has produced 38 wins and 145 losses.
Sunday night it came out that Kobe Bryant was retiring after this season. His first away game was to be in Philadelphia on Tuesday. It was a chance for the Sixers to get their first win of the season, a chance for Philly fans to say farewell to one of the all-time greats who also has local ties, and a chance for the front office to make some money.
A story by the Philadelphia Business Journal confirmed that once the Sixers found out that Bryant was retiring, they upped their ticket prices to another tier.
The game had originally been labeled at Tier B pricing, meaning the cheapeast tickets would range from $24 to $43. When Bryant made his announcement, the game became a Tier A pricing, with the cheapest going from $44 to $70.
For the high rollers, seats at center court that are priced from $126 to $206 for Tier B games were upped to $140 to $298 for the Lakers game.
"As is customary, with most professional sports teams, we tier individual ticket prices based on the schedule," Sixers chief revenue officer Chris Heck told the Philadelphia Business Journal. "When Kobe Bryant announced his pending retirement, and thus his final visit to Philadelphia, on Sunday afternoon we shifted the Lakers game into Tier A pricing."
A good business move? Sure. The game was a sellout and the Wells Fargo Center was as electric as it's been in quite some time.
But where is the human element in all this? Sixers fans have endured an unimaginable amount of losing over the past three seasons and once they finally have a chance to see a win, Scott O'Neil and company raise the prices for them to do so? So many times when speaking publicly, the front office types talk of how much they care about the fans and how they are trying to build a winner for them. They've talked of how the Sixers are one of the best ticket options in all of the NBA.
Maybe that is true, but they missed the bus on this one. Obviously it's business first, fans second.