We've got anecdotal evidence galore. We know the stories of the anguished season ticket holders, we remember the massive discounts on premium seats, we saw the sparse crowds with our own eyes, and we've heard the urgency in the voices of the ticket reps on the phone. But we haven't seen any hard numbers on the Clippers' actual financial performance - until now.
Ken Berger and CBSSports.com obtained an analysis of a league wide revenue report. In it, the Clippers are said to have suffered a $6.8M decrease in gate receipts - that would be a combination of fewer seats sold, and lower prices for those seats (i.e. those massive discounts). There isn't any other hard data from Berger's article specific to the Clippers - but we do know that they weren't in the bottom five in other categories like paid or actual attendance. But gate receipts is the money shot - where the rubber meets the road.
But guess what? According to Forbes, the Clippers cleared $11M in 07-08, their ninth consecutive year in the black. And while I don't have access to all of the Clippers expenses, one assumes that most of them are relatively flat, while player salaries actually decreased, from about $62M in 07-08 to about $60M (second lowest in the league) in 08-09. So for now, I'm estimating that the Clippers still made maybe $6M last season - a tenth straight season of profits. Not bad for a 19 win team during the worst economic downturn in our lifetimes.