Neither the Bobcats nor the Suns are particularly woebegone NBA teams in strictly basketball terms—the Bobcats are enjoying perhaps their best start ever, sitting pretty at 7-8 having already equaled their win total from last season, while the Suns are a scrappy 7-10 with a rebuilding roster. If you focus on the court, things are going surprisingly well for both franchises. So keep doing that, and don't look at the mostly-empty stands. Just keep focusing on the cour—ah, you looked, didn't you? Yeah, there's no one there.
The official stats say the Suns are only selling 81.8 percent of their tickets, while the Bobcats have only managed to unload 78.1 percent of theirs. Neither see close to that percentage of seats actually full for their home games. It isn't the worst in the league—the Pistons host teams in an abandoned warehouse that can't be reached by a paved road—but it's dispiriting to see so many empty seats out there, particularly for teams that aren't awful. Which is why the organizations have strategized promotions with heavy dose of weird and strong whiff of desperation: the Suns will give you your money back if you don't have fun, and the Bobcats, as you can see above, will give you more tickets if you submit yourself to the atmosphere at Time Warner Cable arena until the end of the game.
The Suns money-back-if-you-don't-have-fun deal is especially strange, and seems like it has potential to backfire, as "fun" as no commonly accepted definition. This Thursday, in their game against the Mavericks, the Suns are offering a "satisfaction guarantee." If you don't have "fun," you can get your money back, just fill out a form online. Is it just a blatant attempt by a downtrodden Suns franchise to fill seats for one of their two games on TNT this season? Well...yes. It is that. If you go to that game, remember not to have fun. Don't be seen having fun on the Jumbotron, in the concourse, or anywhere a camera might catch you. It will invalidate your rebate.
The Bobcats, on the other hand, are just bribing people to hang out with them. Tipster Artavias sent in the picture above, and writes,
The Charlotte Bobcats are in severe trouble with attendance and the only way to get fans into the seat are by giving tickets away; and that's just what they decided to do on Friday night. At the beginning of the 4th quarter the announcer presented the following: If anyone of your Charlotte Bobcats players hit a 3 pointer in the 4th quarter then we will give everyone in the arena a free ticket for Monday nights game vs the Portland Trailblazers. With 9 seconds left to go in a game that was out of reach with the Bobcats about to lose Nick Young [Kemba Walker, actually, with one second on the clock] hit a 3 pointer which lit up the approximately 9 thousand fans in attendance.
Indeed they did. Hey, if you've got extra seats, there's no point keeping people out, right? But this is also the kind of the thing that makes the loudest cheers of the game go to a three that put the Bobcats down six with zero seconds left. B-O-B-C-eh, whatever.