Net gate receipts, the money teams make from ticket sales, fell to an average of $828,985 per game, down from $894,823 at the same point last season. Only nine teams were up or flat in average net gate receipts through Nov. 29, while 21 teams saw a decline.
The numbers are important because they reflect how even teams with relatively healthy paid attendance – such as the Mavericks, who are averaging 15,373 – are suffering due to pricing pressure from the recession. Dallas’ paid attendance is down 8.2 percent, but its gate receipts are down 15.9 percent.
They’re also important because ticket revenue factors into the overall basketball-related income (BRI) figure that is used to set the salary cap and luxury tax thresholds for next season. The NBA has stood by its projection of a decline in overall revenue this season between 2.5 percent and 5 percent, which would result in the salary cap declining from its current $57.7 million to between $50.4 million and $53.6 million. But a bigger than expected decline in BRI would seriously hamper certain teams’ plans to be big spenders in the 2010 free-agent market.