The NBA lockout didnt prevent the 76ers new owners from making their first major moves.
The ownership group, led by Joshua Harris and also consisting of Will "West Philadelphia born and raised" Smith and wife Jada held an introductory press conference Tuesday morning at the Palestra.
We cant talk about the lockout in any way and wont," new chief executive officer Adam Aron said.
That didn't mean there wasn't anything to talk about, however.
The group announced that Ed Stefanski, who had been the general manager, will no longer be with the team (see Sixers Talk). Rod Thorn will handle those duties as president and general manager.
"Ed Stefanski will be leaving the organization, but he will have lots of other opportunities, and we wish him nothing but the best," Harris said.
"We were lucky enough when we bought the team to have two fantastic people doing one job. We're going to stay with Rod. There are no current plans to replace Ed at this point."
That's not a major surprise.
But this is:
Im announcing today that going forward, we are slashing and I mean slashing ticket prices on individual game tickets on just under 9,000 seats at the Wells Fargo Center for each and every Sixers home game, Aron said. Indeed on thousands of seats each night, our ticket prices will be cut by 50 percent or more. This is not a sale or a promotion. These are our new ticket prices.
To be clear, these cuts are for individual tickets, not season tickets. The prices of 8,847 seats (about 51 percent) in the upper and lower bowls will be reduced.
Aron said tickets in the lower bowl of the arena will go for as low as 29 last season the cheapest lower bowl ticket was 54. Thats a 46 percent decrease. Whats more, a center court ticket in rows 8-15 of the mezzanine bowl, covering 10 sections, will cost 20, down from 45 last season a 56 percent cut.
Baseline seats in the lower bowl, rows 11-23, are 89 and 59. Last year, they were all 101.
Tickets for some games, designated Select Games and Choice Games, will be 5 and 10 more, respectively, than the regular price.
Price will not be an obstacle in preventing Philadelphia sports fans from being able to enjoy NBA basketball in person, Aron said. Our house is now your house.
But season ticket holders shouldn't fret.
"The days of the suffering season ticket holder are in your past, not in your future," Aron said. "We're going to give you a much better show, and we're going to try to put an exciting winning team on the court."
Only 48 minutes of action occurs on court, so they're also going to improve the overall experience. A series of changes will be announced over the next several weeks.
"What we do with those attendees in the 48 minutes is clearly the most important thing, but what we do for them in the other two hours is also important too," Aron said. "We have a lot of ideas on what we can do to make it more enjoyable to go to a game."
Still, the bottom line is this: If the team wins, people will watch.
A Philly native and graduate of Abington High School, Harvard College and Harvard Business School, Aron is determined to continue the resurgence that Doug Collins started last season.
"I've been a Sixers fan all my life, although admittedly, like the rest of Philadelphians, in some years more than others," Aron said. "But my task, and our task now, is quite clear: to rekindle that spark, to remake that connection between all Philadelphia sports fans and their NBA team.
"Josh and I and all of our partners have an enormous bedrock of tradition and heritage from which to build. Think Erving and Cheeks and Toney and Jones. Think Malone and Barkley and so many since. As Josh has already said, at the Sixers, we will set to be world class and cutting edge in everything that we do."
The group is also setting up a website for fans to submit their suggestions: www.newsixersowner.com.
"We're expecting to receive literally thousands of fan observations, and -- since who needs sleep? -- I know that I for one am eager to read each and every single fan submission that we get," Aron said.
Aron also added some incentive.
"To the 1,776 fans passing along to us the comments that we find the most intriguing," Aron said, "we'll happily give away to each of them a free Sixers ticket."
E-mail Andy Schwartz at email@example.com.