NBA Attendance Sets Records, 12 Teams Post Season Sellouts

The NBA wrapped up its 78th regular season on Sunday that set the final seedings for the upcoming playoffs—only three of the 16 playoff seeds were locked in to start the day. The tight races and resurgence of several clubs helped the league set multiple records for single-season attendance.

Total attendance reached 22,538,518—up 1.4% from last year’s record—with an average of 18,324 versus 18,077 in 2022-23. Some 873 games, or 71% of the total, sold out, topping last year’s marks of 791 and 63%. Teams filled their arenas to 98% of capacity this season, another all-time high. Twelve teams sold out every game this season. They included usual suspects, such as the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers

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A new sellout entry for this season was the Minnesota Timberwolves. Their attendance rose 7.5%, fourth-highest after the Oklahoma City Thunder’s leading 12.3%. Minnesota posted its second-best record in franchise history behind the dynamic play of guard Anthony Edwards.

Other teams without an unsold ticket this season included the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz. All 12 teams except Utah qualified for the playoffs or play-in tournament.

An added factor that drove attendance this season was the introduction of the NBA In-Season Tournament, rebranded as the Emirates NBA Cup for next year. Early season games can be a tough sell, but the IST generated interest among fans and pushed November attendance to its highest ever.

Teams also have collected reams of data in recent years on their customers, which has helped improve offerings for fans for different ticket packages and other features. “Our teams have gotten more and more sophisticated across the board, introducing new technology and other ways to engage fans as well to help build relationships,” Jonathan Tillman, head of NBA’s team marketing and business operations (TMBO), said in a February phone interview.

The NBA play-in tournament tips off Tuesday night and will wrap up on Friday, while the regular playoffs begin on Saturday.

(This article has been updated with new attendance information from the NBA.)

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