Two photos of the New Jersey Nets were published in the New York Times in the past two days, and both were more generous than they had to be. They didn't convey an essential fact of the team's season: very few people are coming to the Izod Center to watch the league's worst team.
At left is the photo that appeared (cropped somewhat, in black and white) in yesterday's print New York Times, to accompany an article headlined Wizards and Nets in One Unenchanted Evening.
It's a perfectly good photo of hoops action. But it doesn't say quite enough.
A section of the article amplified the headline:
But for spectacles, this matchup was not one to be highlighted, not with a terrible team hosting another poor team engulfed by the worst scandal of the year. If for three hours the N.B.A. could pretend one of its games never happened, this would probably be the occasion."Surprisingly well populated"?
The Nets have the third-lowest attendance average in the N.B.A., listed generously at 13,484 per home game. At their previous home game, against the Clippers, they announced fewer than 10,000 fans, but people at the game estimated there may not have been half that many.
Perhaps because it was a Friday night, the Izod Center was surprisingly well populated for this game, with an announced attendance of 11,384 who witnessed the Wizards denying the Nets a chance at their first winning streak of the season. Washington prevailed, 81-79, on Earl Boykins’s pull-up jumper with four-tenths of a second remaining.
If the Nets' announced average attendance is 13,484, isn't an announced attendance of 11,384 not "surprisingly well populated"?
Rather, the Friday night game could be considered "surprisingly well populated" only in contrast with--as would seem typical--a weeknight game.
At right is another photo of the game, from Getty Images. It shows that most of the seats in the lower section--the most expensive seats--were empty, as were a good number of those in the upper decks.
At the previous home game
Maybe it's all relative. Consider that the Times suggested that the announced attendance at the previous game might have been cut in half. That means that perhaps only 5000 people watched the Nets play the Clippers.
Check out the photo at left, also by Getty Images.
Not only are the lower decks mostly empty, one section of the upper deck is covered with a tarp.
The puff piece
But what photo did the Times publish on Friday? One supplied by the Nets as part of an article, published Thursday on the CityRoom blog and later in print, about a couple of players visiting a hospital in Brooklyn.
Remember, Nets CEO Brett Yormark is a "Yormarketing Genius" only if the press complies.