Saturday, May 24, 2014

NBA Attendance Since the 2011/12 Lockout

Has average home attendance changed since the lockout?  In our book, The Wages of Wins, we analyze season attendance in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB with and without player strikes/ owner lockouts and conclude using intervention analysis that strikes or lockouts do not have a significant difference in attendance for each of those four US sports leagues.  About two years ago I blogged about NBA attendance right after the lockout and also concluded that average home attendance was not different during the lockout year as opposed to average home attendance before the lockout.

Now that we have two more years of attendance data, I thought that I would return to this topic of NBA average home attendance again.  To do so I am analyzing the two seasons before the lockout, the lockout season and the two seasons after the lockout.  As I did in the blog linked in the paragraph above, I will use a t test (assuming unequal variance) on the data that I collected from ESPN's NBA attendance webpage.  As a reminder, I will be analyzing average NBA home attendance since the lockout and non-lockout seasons have different total games played and thus different total attendance.  I am not interested in whether total attendance is different, but whether fans are going at different rates when the games are played.  For those interested in total team attendance, I have included this at the end of this blog.

Running the numbers results in the same conclusion:  average NBA home attendance is not statistically different in either post lockout season compared to average NBA home attendance of the lockout year.  Statistically average NBA attendance is not different when comparing the lockout year to the two seasons before or after the lockout.

Here is a chart of the average home attendance data since the 2009/2010 NBA season.

In terms of total home attendance, there is a statistically significant difference in the year before the lockout and the lockout season and also comparing the lockout season and the season after using a t test assuming unequal variance.

For those interested, here is a chart of total NBA home attendance for those five seasons.

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