How much can fans help the Pistons?

Here's another one of my theoretical questions which tries to answer itself using statistics. I miss watching a Pistons game (when I could) in college (started in 2003, moved from MI to GA) and people didn't like playing in the Palace because of it being a noisy, jam packed place where all of the fans seemed to be invested in the game. Today, I've seen people compare the Pistons' crowd to WNBA sized crowds. And when I've gotten the chance to watch the game, it truly feels that way. It's also comparable to a preseason's horrendous and heartbreaking to watch.

Now, as with my other theoretical question regarding age and experience, I did this with little spare time. I would love to go further into this and capture data as far back as 2000 if possible, but it takes way too much time. So I only did last season.

Athletes always say that they love playing at home because their city has the greatest fans in the world, bar none (so said Rothlesburger this weekend). Well, the lack of attendance and statements such as that made me wonder: Has the attendance at the Palace affected the Pistons?

Now, I draw no concrete conclusions from the data I'm about to provide, but I've always thought that a smaller crowd hurts the home team and amps up the visiting team. Now, there are many reasons why the attendance may be small (trading away fan favorite players [Billups], bringing in players people really dislike [Iverson], economy [Detroit], day of week [weekend vs. weekday], opponent [Charlotte], etc.). So here's a home game by game analysis of the 2011-12 season along with a follow up after the jump.

Date Day Opponent W/L Score (H-A) Attendance Diff. Prev. Att. Att. > Avg. Att. Att. > Avg. Att. - 1000 Att. > Avg. Att. - 2000 Att. > Avg. Att. - 3000 W-L Record Before Game Streak Prior
12/16/2011 Friday Cleveland (pre) L 87-91 7927 0-0 0
12/28/2011 Wednesday Cleveland L 89-105 22076 UP UP UP UP 0-1 1L
12/31/2011 Saturday Indiana W 96-88 8824 -13252 0-3 3L
1/2/2012 Monday Orlando W 89-78 8120 -704 1-3 1W
1/4/2012 Wednesday Chicago L 83-99 9125 1005 2-3 2W
1/7/2012 Saturday New York 12044 2919 UP 2-5 2L
1/10/2012 Tuesday Dallas L 86-100 10073 -1971 2-7 4L
1/15/2012 Sunday Golden State L 91-99 11774 1701 UP 3-9 1W
1/20/2012 Friday Memphis L 81-98 10255 -1519 3-12 3L
1/21/2012 Saturday Portland W 94-91 14456 4201 UP UP UP UP 3-13 4L
1/25/2012 Wednesday Miami L 98-101 18058 3602 UP UP UP UP 4-14 1L
1/27/2012 Friday Atlanta L 101-107 14010 -4048 UP UP UP 4-15 2L
2/3/2012 Friday Milwaukee W 88-80 13181 -829 UP UP 4-20 7L
2/4/2012 Saturday New Orleans W 89-87 13174 -7 UP UP 5-20 1W
2/10/2012 Friday New Jersey W 109-92 14320 1146 UP UP UP UP 7-20 3W
2/12/2012 Sunday Washington L 77-98 12654 -1666 UP UP 8-20 4W
2/14/20012 Tuesday San Antonio L 95-99 11533 -1121 UP 8-21 1L
2/17/2012 Friday Sacramento W 114-108 14686 3153 UP UP UP UP 9-22 1W
2/19/2012 Sunday Boston W 96-81 22076 7390 UP UP UP UP 10-22 2W
2/28/2012 Tuesday Philadelphia L 97-68 11916 -10160 UP 11-24 2L
2/29/2012 Wednesday Charlotte W 109-94 14534 2618 UP UP UP UP 11-25 3L
3/6/2012 Tuesday Lakers W 88-85 22076 7542 UP UP UP UP 12-26 1L
3/9/2012 Friday Atlanta W 86-85 15503 -6573 UP UP UP UP 13-26 1W
3/10/2012 Saturday Toronto W 105-86 16090 587 UP UP UP UP 14-26 2W
3/23/2012 Friday Miami L 73-88 22076 5986 UP UP UP UP 16-30 3L
3/31/2012 Saturday Charlotte W 110-107 17082 -4994 UP UP UP UP 18-33 1L
4/3/2012 Tuesday Orlando W 102-95 16741 -341 UP UP UP UP 19-33 1W
4/5/2012 Thursday Washington W 99-94 12681 -4060 UP UP 20-33 2W
4/13/2012 Friday Milwuakee L 97-113 15255 2574 UP UP UP UP 22-36 1W
4/15/2012 Sunday Chicago L 94-100 17450 2195 UP UP UP UP 22-37 1L
4/17/2012 Tuesday Cleveland W 116-77 11595 -5855 UP 22-38 2L
4/19/2012 Thursday Minnesota L 80-91 12458 863 UP UP 23-39 1L
4/22/2012 Sunday Toronto W 76-73 14370 1912 UP UP UP UP 23-40 2L
2/26/2012 Thursday Philadelphia W 108-86 15372 1002 UP UP UP UP 24-41 1L

Here's a quick summary of the above table:

  • According to Google, the Palace of Auburn Hills seating capacity: 24,276
  • 2011-12 Detroit Pistons average home attendance: 14,223
  • Overall Home Record (including Preseason): 18-16
  • Home Record by Days (and Average Attendance)
    • Sunday (15,665): 2-3
    • Monday (8,120): 1-0
    • Tuesday (13,989): 3-3
    • Wednesday (15,948): 1-3
    • Thursday (13,504): 2-1
    • Friday (14,135): 4-5
    • Saturday (13,612): 5-1
  • Record when home attendance is higher than previous home game: 9-9 (9-6 when lower)
  • Record when home attendance is >= average Pistons home attendance: 12-5 (6-11 when lower)
  • Record when home attendance is >= average Pistons home attendance - 1,000: 12-6 (6-10 when lower)
  • Record when home attendance is >= average Pistons home attendance - 2,000: 15-8 (3-8 when lower)
  • Record when home attendance is >= average Pistons home attendance - 3,000: 16-12 (2-4 when lower)
  • Record for home games after losing streak: 9-11 (9-5 after winning streak)
  • Record when attendance < 10,000: 2-2
  • Record when attendance < 12,500: 3-9
  • Record when attendance < 15,000: 11-11
  • Record when attendance > 15,000: 7-5
  • Record when attendance > 17,500: 2-3
  • Record when attendance > 20,000: 2-1

So yeah, I reaffirmed what we kind of already knew: teams play better at home when they have more fans in the seats. So you might ask why I took that time to go through all of that. Well, it's because I don't necessarily agree with what some people have said in regards that they think making the playoffs this year would be bad for the Pistons. First, I don't think the draft class this coming draft is very good so I don't mind losing the pick this year especially. Second, I think if the Pistons fought for a spot in the playoffs, even if it means being swept by Miami or Boston, Pistons fans would be generally happy and likely to buy more tickets the following season. The higher the attendance, the higher the morale of the Pistons players and hopefully the better production from them.

Now, none of this means that before the game starts we can take the announced attendance and determine if we're going to win or not. The sample data I used above from last season is 1) not from a full 82 game season, 2) the average attendance per day is somewhat skewed (Wednesday only had three games while Friday had 9, the home opener was a Wednesday, and the Friday and Saturday in the beginning of the season had 8200 or fewer fans, so I think that semi throws off the data), and 3) this season won't be as jam packed and we (as well as the other teams) will have more practices and more time together (and more time to heal).

Now, obviously not every Pistons fan reads this thread and is willing to pay to see them play in person (when you can do it from the comfort of your home) and not everyone has the means to even if they wanted to. This is something that is going to fall on the players as well as Gores and his advertising crew. The players have to play good enough to start the season off with a pretty decent record (not that easy considering the very quick west coast road trip) but Gores is going to have to find a way to make it accessible for more people to come to the games and not raise prices (well, not right away). I know the prices right now, including some deals they've been promoting, are quite cheap. But some of those that would be willing to spend that money live too far away to make it to the game (and since I've lived in Detroit, I know some people have cars they ONLY trust to get them to and from work). Maybe they could get a few shuttle buses to pick up from 4 or 5 locations in the surrounding cities (Detroit, Kalamzoo, Flint, Mt. Clemens and maybe somewhere else that I can't think of) so that more people could come out (maybe they already do this, I don't know). Maybe $2 per person for the ride (should be enough I would hope). I love the back to basics approach they're going with, but they really need to try and help get people in the seats, both literally and figuratively.

So how do you think the Pistons (or any team) are affected by the attendance (or lack their of)?

FanPosts are user-created posts from the Detroit Bad Boys community and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all fans or the staff at DBB. The DBB staff reserves the right at any time to edit the contents of FanPosts as they reasonably see fit.

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