NBA arenas are a wonderful thing in the world of sports. A stadium where the best basketball players in the world come together and battle it out on the hardwood. Stadiums across the NBA are commonly used for other sports as well, and become the centerpiece of many cities. However, the location of stadiums vary depending on the city that they’re in.
In Detroit, the Palace of Auburn Hills is located outside the core of the city. On the other hand, in Toronto, the Air Canada Centre is smack in the middle of the downtown core. None of these are major factor in attendance records. At the end of the day, the attendance records are primarily affected by the team and the market. Teams that have a loyal fan base and a high market demand will constantly be amongst the leaders in attendance records. That being said, a winning team has never been a deterrent for fans to come see.
No matter what, at the end of the day, sellouts are still dependent on how well the team does. There will always be diehard fans that constantly show up to games, but a handful of cities need to see results out of their attendance. Our list goes through the top 10 teams that draw in the biggest crowds from their fans.
10 Oklahoma City Thunder, Average: 18,203
The Thunder is one of the youngest and most exciting teams to watch in the NBA. With a potential MVP and an explosive point guard, there’s no wonder that the Thunder are amongst the leaders in attendance records.
Following an appearance in the finals during the 2011-2012 season, the Thunder cemented themselves as a contender for the title in years to follow. As they make pushes and add some veteran leadership (Derek Fisher and Caron Butler) to help them over the hump, the Thunder continue to bring in one of the most loyal fan.
9 San Antonio Spurs, Average: 18,392
The San Antonio Spurs have truly held a dynasty since 1999. After winning their first Championship in franchise history, the Spurs began a run that would be one for the ages. With four Championships in nine years, and still remaining a contender until now, the Spurs have been able to bring together one of the best team experiences in the NBA.
Needless to say, the fans appreciate the work that the team puts in. With one of the best attendance records in the league, the Spurs winning ways continue to show why their fans keep coming back for more. Although the stadium is dark, and the mascot is a coyote of some sort, the Spurs winning ways and the culture of the team keep getting fans in the seats.
8 Los Angeles Lakers, Average: 18,868
Every once in a while, the Lakers go through a time where they need to rebuild and restructure the organization. It hasn’t happened in a long time, since the season Kobe had his historic 81-point game. Now as the Lakers signed Chris Kaman and Nick Young over the offseason, the assumption was just that. That the Lakers would be rebuilding as Kobe healed from his Achilles injury.
Despite the rebuilding team, and being amongst the worst teams in the league, the Lakers still draw in a loyal fan base that won’t ever leave. The franchise has had such a strong history that being a Lakers fan is like being a Yankees fan, everlasting. Very rarely do the loyal fans to the team leave, and every year, more and more come along the bandwagon. Although there’s no such wagon this year, it’s just a matter of time before the Lakers go back to being contenders and the Staples is filled bandwagonners and loyal fans alike.
7 Los Angeles Clippers, Average: 19,205
The first caveat between the Lakers and Clippers that we need to remember is that the Clippers can house more fans than the Lakers can, despite sharing the same stadium. The second thing that we need to remember is that the Clippers are a legitimate contender this year, while the Lakers are amongst the worst teams in the league.
With this information, it’s only appropriate that the Clippers draw in more fans than the Lakers. With an exciting front court in DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, with arguably the best point guard in the league, the Clippers bring at least one highlight play to every game. Add in Jamal Crawford’s fancy dribbling, and the Clippers have found the recipe for maximizing attendance records.
6 Golden State Warriors, Average: 19,596
The Oracle Arena is one of the loudest stadiums in the league. Playoff games are an opposing team’s worst enemy when they enter the Roaracle because of the sheer noise that is held within the stadium. This was when the Warriors weren’t even a playoff team, but still in the rebuilding stage.
Now, the team sits as a constant playoff team in the tough Western Conference. The team has two of the best three point shooters in the back court and one of the best perimeter defenders in the league along with one of the best interior defenders. The Roaracle continues to bring in large crowds with a loyal fan base from the early days of Chris Webber, who can now enjoy the Steph Curry show.
5 Portland Trail Blazers, Average: 19, 699
The Blazers play in one of the biggest arenas in the league and house the 5th strongest attendance record in the league. It becomes even more impressive when considering the Blazers history of draft choices over the past decade. Former Rookie of the Year, Brandon Roy, was a miraculous scorer, but had his career cut short due to constant knee injuries. Greg Oden, who was drafted before Kevin Durant, could never get a good hold on the NBA game because of knee injuries as well.
Now, the Blazers have built their team around LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. With three-point shooting threats in Matthews and Batum, the Blazers dominated the Western Conference at the beginning of the year. Now, as we approach the playoffs, the Blazers will try to their loyal fans why the fans have brought them great support all year.
4 Miami Heat, Average: 19,765
With three Championships in eight years, the Heat has built a winning culture within the last decade. With the best player in the world on their team, the Heat continue to get fans to fill the seats. LeBron’s skill level and the winning culture of the team continue to make this team enjoyable for the fans of South Beach.
As the team attempts to complete the three-peat this season, the Heat continues to draw some of the most loyal fans in the league. The Heat’s attendance records skyrocketed in the 2004-2005 season. Coincidentally, this was the year after Dwyane Wade was drafted and brought the team to the playoffs as a rookie.
3 New York Knicks, Average: 19,812
The Knicks have one of the most historic franchises in NBA history. Kids growing up always know of the New York Knicks. Despite poor teams during the 70s and 80s, the Knicks came back in the 90s with a bang behind center Patrick Ewing. During the Ewing era, the MSG was a constant sellout every night.
Now, with one of the most exciting scorers leading the team in Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks are back to maintaining sellout crowds. As the team moves forward with Phil Jackson as the President of Basketball Operations, it’s a safe assumption that the Knicks will continue to be amongst the league leaders in attendance records for years to come.
2 Dallas Mavericks, Average: 19,908
The Dallas Mavericks have had high attendance records since the early 2000s and have never slowed down. This was due to, in part, having Michael Finley and Steve Nash controlling the back court in a fast-paced Don Nelson offense. As the coaching personnel changed, so did the roster ad the once purely offensive team turned into a defensive juggernaut.
This is what helped the Mavericks win the title in 2011, behind defensive specialists such as Tyson Chandler and Shawn Marion and of course their MVP Dirk Nowitzki. This year, the Mavericks are fighting for a playoff spot in the West and continue to bring in fans with their Dirk’s legendary one-legged step back jumper.
1 Chicago Bulls, Average: 21,681
Even during their rebuilding years, the Bulls were amongst the league leaders in attendance ever year. Why? This is as loyal a fan base as a team can ask for. The Bulls fans continue to swarm the United Center every year and with good reason. A couple of years ago, they came in to see their MVP Derrick Rose play with crazy dunks and crossovers.
Now, the current Bulls team is consisted of hustle players like Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Jimmy Butler who lead the team with hustle and grit. It’s no secret that these players do the dirty work on the floor and they mirror a city that is based on hard word and grinding.