Pollster Frank Luntz discussed his Pacers' survey results with Kravitz & Eddie yesterday (audio link). It's easy to be skeptical of Luntz's results because he sounds like such a cheerleader and obviously, the Pacers are paying him plenty for his work with the team.
But the Pacers aren't paying him to make them feel good. Luntz has been at it for three and a half years so I guess, now that there's some good news to report, the team wants to highlight the improvement. Plus, there's no doubt the public view of the team has improved and now we're back to thinking about basketball when assessing the franchise. That's the feeling you get around town and this just confirms it with some strong evidence.
One area Luntz took to far was his assumption that the team's improvment on the court was mirroring its improvement off the court and ticket sales should expect to rise. The jury is still out for the on-the-court improvements which will have a big impact on ticket sales for the long term.
Luntz did mention that the Pacers' ticket sales are higher than at this time last year which halts a declining trend over the past few years. Nice to see it moving in another direction and there's no doubt that if the team gets off to a good start and wins more games than they lose in November then the crowds will rise quickly. But that could be a tall order considering all of the new faces and health issues. If the Pacers start slow attendance numbers will remain stagnant throughout the season.
After the jump, a few more links of interest with more stories about Tyler Hansbroughpracticing, the Pacers defense and fouling, as well as another shot at the Pacers by Peter Vecsey.
PACERS: Hansbrough takes first step back with return to practice
Bruno's practice report has lots more on Hansbrough return to the practice court. Also, JOB addresses the preseason foul binges and doesn't think they'll carry over to the regular season.
Lifelong winner Bird battles Pacers' losing ways
Cliff Brunt checks in with Larry Bird as the Pacers continue searching for more wins.
Pacers rookie Hansbrough, recovering from injury, practices for first time this preseason
Mike Wells updates his story on Tyler Hansbrough's return to the practice court.
Pacers O'Brien wants fewer fouls, same aggressiveness
Mike Wells reports on Jim O'Brien's thoughts about the Pacers defense and fouling problems. JOB hopes the fouls will drop in the regular season as long as the aggressive pressure continues.
Pacers franchise is winning back fans, pollster says
Jeff Rabjohns reports on the Frank Luntz polling results that saw the public opinion of the Pacers go from worst to first in Luntz's analysis.
Pacers hope emphasis on defense leads to playoffs
Cliff Brunt reports on the Pacers' efforts to emphasize defense to improve their win total enough to make the playoffs.
VECSEY: Daniels didn't deserve Pacer ax
Peter Vecsey is taking the Pacers to task again, this time for letting the legendary Mel Daniels go, which is the first I've heard of this. When I saw this headline, I thought Vecsey was out of his mind and going to argue that Marquis Danielsshould've been retained this summer would'be been nearly impossible. Interestingly, Mel Daniels is quoted in Cliff Brunt's article linked above. Safe to say, Vecsey is no fan of David Morway.