“The process is complete,” according to Sixers top pick Markelle Fultz.
If you’re going by city and nation-wide exposure, that statement is correct.
Once bottom-feeders in attendance and in televised games, the Sixers are being thrust into the spotlight both locally and nationally in the upcoming season. Season tickets have been sold out for months and it was announced in the past week that the team will have several nationally televised games on the schedule, ahead of their full slate of games being released later this summer.
On October 18, the Sixers will play their season opener against the Washington Wizards on the road on ESPN. On Christmas Day, the Sixers will face the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden at Noon to kick-off the day’s slate of games on ESPN. And on January 11, the Sixers will face the Boston Celtics in the NBA London Game 2018 at O2 Arena which time is TBA but is set to be televised on NBA TV.
“Participating in NBA London Game 2018 is a great opportunity for our players to compete in front of an international audience at the historic O2 Arena,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “I have fond memories of coaching the Australian national team in London during the 2012 Olympics. The basketball fans there are very passionate and I am looking forward to playing the Celtics there in January.”
Not long ago, for the 2015-16 season, the Sixers didn’t get a single nationally televised game on their schedule. Their home attendance ranked 28th (14,881 per game) in the league. To be fair, the team did finish just 10-72, their second-worst record in franchise history.
The additions of Fultz and J.J. Redick in the offseason as well as a healthy Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid returning to the court has sent expectations for the team soaring. With expectations comes intrigue and with intrigue comes viewership. They’re looking for their first playoff bid since 2012, where they lost to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
“We’re going to be in the playoffs this year,” Fultz said. “I think everybody is willing to put forth their best effort and listen to the coaches and listen to the bench. We’ve got to just do whatever it takes to get there. That’s practicing even harder, that’s doing extra work in the gym by ourselves, I mean, we’re going to do whatever it takes.”