The Atlanta Hawks had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season. They return four All-Stars and the NBA coach of the year.
And they need an adultery-themed ad to lure fans to the arena.
Two seasons ago, the Hawks finished with the third-worst home attendance in the NBA, averaging 14,339 fans (76.6 percent of the arena), despite being a playoff team. The Hawks' 2014-15 success bumped attendance to 17,412 (93 percent), but there is still room to improve.
Enter Ashley Madison, the online dating service geared toward men and women who are married or in committed relationships. The website was hacked in July, and customer data was leaked.
The Hawks are using three Georgia residents with the birth name Ashley Madison, two females and one male, to attract new fans. The first ad campaign is called "The Real Ashley Madison." The phone number listed is 1-855-HAWK-LUV.
"Have you had a little rough patch with your first love?" one actual Ashley Madison asks. "Maybe they just don't deliver the excitement you need anymore."
Halfway through the ad, Hawks mascot Harry the Hawk enters to relieve some of the creepiness, although seductive whispers continue.
"Feel the rush of a new relationship with the Atlanta Hawks Flex Plan -- 10 nights of pure, unadulterated excitement. And don't worry. Your old team never has to know."
Here is a real press release:
The Hawks capitalizing on ... Ashley Madison to sell tickets. I wonder if the NBA is thrilled. pic.twitter.com/TXvzuye7WR
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) September 18, 2015
This is not as weird as one may think. Last season, the Hawks had a Tinder-themed night and briefly signed rapper 2 Chainz to a contract as CEO.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 5, 2015
The Hawks have done some unique stuff to boost attendance, but taking a theme from a website centered around adultery is a first. If the team continues to perform at a high level, navigating Atlanta traffic to Philips Arena will become more than a guilty pleasure.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.