Wide Open Spaces

Sixers fans have plenty of room to stretch out this season.

Sixers fans may notice something strange this season at the Wachovia Center -- plenty of room to spread out in the half-empty arena.

After years of being near the top in attendance -- when Allen Iverson was around -- the 76ers are bottoming out at the gate.

The Sixers are third to last drawing only 13,263 fans a night nine home games into the 2008-09 season. Look at the percentage of the stadium filled and its even bleaker as the Sixers are dead last in filling the house -- drawing less than 65 percent capacity.

The crazy thing is that Sixers fans everywhere are watching the team play in front of empty seats -- the Sixers are the second worst averaging road team for a attendance (15,197) and one of only three teams drawing fewer than 80 percent capacity.

Open space may bring a smile to the faces of tree huggers but it sure must be putting a frown on the Sixers brass and players.

Seeing empty seats can't be helping the Sixers players unless they are good at channeling their own inner-Tampa Bay Ray.

The economic downturn has hit the NBA in general as cash-strapped fans may be cutting back on costs by staying home.

The problem with the Sixers is that individual tickets regularly cost $15 to $119 to watch a game. Add in the cost of getting to a game, food and drinks and it could cost a small fortune for a family of four to watch a team that is average at best --in the middle Eastern Conference standings.

It is so bad on game nights in South Philly that the Sixers are resorting to major price cuts just to get people into the arena -- at least once they are in the doors they may buy some concessions at a huge premium.

A few weeks back the Sixers announced that tickets for all December games are available for just $10.Now the Sixers Web site is chock full of deals -- they are offering discounts for guys, all-you-can-eat tickets and holiday packages.

The Sixers haven't drawn better than about 80 percent capacity since the tail-end of Iverson's heyday in 2004-05.

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