PBA plots moves to check declining gate attendance
TOKYO—After experiencing a significant decline in gate attendance and gross receipts last season, the PBA will try to turn things around by reviewing the viability of six key measures for the 41st Season which opens on Oct. 18.
With game receipts falling 18 percent and warm bodies turning up 10 percent fewer than the 39th season figures, the league’s leadership is considering “going back to the basics” to check the slide.
Members of the league’s board of governors, led by chair Robert Non of San Miguel Beer, league president-CEO Chito Salud and new commissioner Chito Narvasa identified at least three innovations implemented last season as possible causes. These include the addition of a fifth playdate for the week and changes in the tip-off times.
“We will look deeper into these aspects,” said Non, who assumed the chairmanship for the second time, on Monday.
The league will decide whether or not to continue with the Tuesday games and whether the 4:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. tip-offs will be kept.
The PBA also wants the games held at either Smart Araneta Coliseum or Mall of Asia Arena only, and the breaks between conferences to be lengthened to at least 15 days.
Salud stressed that expansion squads Blackwater and KIA Motors need to be more competitive.
“We want our expansion teams to be more competitive,” said Salud. “We want to prevent predictability of the games, to make the games more exciting.”
Even with bigger imports last season, no expansion squad managed to make it past the elimination round in all three conferences.
Because of its accommodation of the Gilas Pilipinas national team, the PBA took an average of four-day breaks in-between conferences last season.
The league broke attendance records during Non’s first term in 2012 and raked in more than P230 million at the tills.
Aside from Non, also elected were Eric Arejola of Globalport as vice chair and Ramoncito Fernandez of NLEX as treasurer.
The board is expected to tackle other issues, including the PBA’s continued participation in the Gilas Pilipinas program, the format for the coming season and Narvasa’s innovations in officiating.