May 2, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Blazer fans cheer during introductions in game six of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Are Trail Blazers Fans as Active as We Think?

We hear often enough that the Moda Center is a tough arena for opponents to play in, and not because we are putting snakes in anyone’s locker or shutting off the A/C on 90-degree days, but because of the fans. While Miami Heat fans taking to the exists early during both Game 3 and Game 4 of this year’s NBA Finals is a great anecdote, and as humorous as it was too see Heat fans scrambling to get back into a locked arena during LAST year’s NBA Finals (missing one of the better comebacks in recent Finals memory), anecdotes do not a data set make.

So are Portland fans any better than the Heat’s? A franchise that has garnered criticism for its bandwagon/fair-weather fandom in recent years? Let’s go to the numbers.

BasketballReference.com (a must-have if you like NBA player or franchise numbers) has attendance data going back to the 2006-07 season:

 

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Year (Record): Attendance (Attendance rank in NBA)
  • 2006-07 (32-50): 670,778 (22nd)
  • 07-08 (41-41): 801,566 (7th)
  • 08-09 (54-28): 841,499 (3rd)
  • 09-2010 (50-32): 840,371 (3rd)
  • 10-11 (48-34): 840,924 (2nd)
  • 11-12 (28-38): 676,384 (2nd)
  • 12-13 (33-49): 813,012 (4th)
  • 13-14 (54-28): 809,612 (5th)

 

Portland was near the top of the pack, even during losing seasons. The glaring anomaly of 2006-07 followed the Jail Blazer era, before anyone knew exactly how good Brandon Roy and (especially) LaMarcus Aldridge would be.

 

Miami Heat

  • Year (Record): Attendance (Attendance rank in NBA)
  • 2006-07 (44-38): 808,541 (5th)
  • 07-08 (15-67): 798,004 (8th)
  • 08-09 (43-39): 748,978 (15th)
  • 09-2010 (47-35): 726,935 (15th)
  • 10-11 (58-24): 810,930 (5th) – Welcome, LeBron and Bosh!
  • 11-12 (46-20): 657,855 (4th)
  • 12-13 (66-16): 819,290 (3rd)
  • 13-14 (54-28): 811,026 (4th)

 

Miami has also been near the top… since they picked up LeBron James and Chris Bosh. And while 2006-07 looks pretty good, that was immediately following their first championship.

So how do the averages look?

Portland Trail Blazers – 2006-present (340-300): 786,768 (6th)

Miami Heat – 2006-present (373-267) : 772,694 (7th)

Despite winning 3 championships in 8 years, despite having not only the best player in the league in his prime, but multiple other future hall-of-famers, and despite winning more games, the Miami Heat still can’t match Portland’s attendance.*

No, one statistic doesn’t mean everything… but you can now say to your poor, wayward Miami Heat fan friends that, yes, anecdotally and figuratively, Portland fans are the bees knees.

 

*and yes, I realize the Moda Center has about 300 more seats than American Airlines Arena, but they have THREE championships! Come on!

 

 

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