Andrew Bynum hasn't been visible on the court this season.
Philadelphia 76ers fans haven't been visible in the stands.
According to NBA figures, the Sixers rank just 23rd in attendance, selling around 80 percent capacity at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, or about 15,000 fans per games.
Poor numbers in comparison to the 22 teams ranking ahead of Philadelphia, yet the secondary ticket market tells an even graver story.
A seat for the Monday, Dec. 10 contest between the Sixers and Detroit Pistons could be had for as low as 85 cents on the online marketplace, well below original face value set by the team and still cheaper than any current ticket package the organization is running. As of late Thursday night, lower baseline seats in section 119 were going for $3 apiece on multiple outlets.
Great news for fans who still want to see a game in-person, bad business for a team trying to build their franchise around a seven-foot center in Bynum who is still dealing with knee issues that emerged in the summer. A quick Yahoo! search yielded nearly 3,000 tickets available on the secondary market and a glance through the Sixers' team website found that seats were available in nearly every section of the arena for the matchup with the Pistons.
Not every fan can make a Monday game during a month filled with holiday and year-end activities - understandable. The Chicago Bulls visit Philadelphia just two days after the Pistons and are drawing ticket prices at $2.95 for upper-level. Prices are higher for the following Sunday, a showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers, yet there are still around 5,000 seats available online. A Friday, Jan. 18 game against the Toronto Raptors sees another dip in ticket prices below a buck, with the cheapest coming in at 95 cents.
If the thought of a star-studded lineup of Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Steve Nash and the rest of the Lakers can't fill the seats at Wells Fargo, former-Laker Bynum isn't likely to end the disturbing trend of Sixers tickets hardly being worth more than the paper they're printed on.
A tough economy combined with a middle of the road team lacking a star presence equals lower ticket prices around the league, not just in Philadelphia. The Sixers organization should be more concerned with the lack of actual fans in the seats rather than the prices of resold tickets, and with the deals they're offering, they might be.
In an evident push to bring anyone and everyone to the stadium, the Sixers are pushing "Family Packs" that feature four tickets and an equal number of hot dogs and sodas for just $60 and "Holiday Packs" that include three sets of two tickets and a $50 gift certificate to a Philadelphia jewelry store for the same $60 price. Both seem like a last gasp effort to fill the seats and even the "Holiday Packs" can't compete with tickets being sold for less than a dollar.
The Sixers overall product isn't a bad one. The team is 10-8 through 18 games and playing in an arena that opened just 16 years ago, with hardly a bad seat in the house. The team doesn't even have competition with the Philadelphia Flyers, a team that typically shares the arena with the Sixers, but hasn't seen the building with an NHL lockout still intact. Not even the floundering Philadelphia Eagles across the street from the Wells Fargo Center are putting up much of a fight, with cheap seats available for their remaining two home games.
Whatever the issue at hand, it's tough to imagine Bynum turning the Sixers literal fortune around.
But maybe that's the ticket.
Rob Edwards lives in New Jersey and has been covering the Philadelphia 76ers for six years. He has been published in the South Jersey Times as well as multiple other newspapers and NJ.com.