Bobcats' success brings a bounty of season-ticket sales
Jordan's takeover of team also helps bring fans and corporate sponsors.
By David Scott
Posted: Friday, Aug. 13, 2010
Bobcats Rockets Basketball
The Charlotte Bobcats' best season yet has quickly translated into one of the NBA's fastest growing season-ticket bases. And the team's list of corporate sponsors also continues to grow rapidly.
The Bobcats, who reached the playoffs for the first time in their six-year history last spring, have renewed 91percent of their season ticket holders and sold 1,575 new season tickets for the 2010-11 season, which begins in October.
Both those numbers are in the top 10 in the 30-team league, according to Bobcats president Fred Whitfield, who got the news at a recent NBA executives meeting. The Bobcats have never been in the top 20 of the league in either of those categories, Whitfield said.
Whitfield said the Bobcats had a 71percent renewal rate this time last year and had sold fewer than 400 new season tickets. They sold about 7,000 season tickets overall last season and expect to go well past the 8,000 mark this season.
It appears the bump in sales can be traced to the team's play last season and a hands-on approach by new majority team owner Michael Jordan.
"We repositioned ourselves," said Pete Guelli, the team's chief sales and marketing officer. "How the team performed during the regular season, then Michael buying the team, then making the playoffs - it was the perfect storm."
The Bobcats' average attendance of 15,824 in the 19,000-seat Time Warner Cable Arena ranked 22nd in the league last season. That was a 10 percent increase from 2008-09, the largest increase of any team in the NBA's Eastern Conference, Whitfield said.
The Bobcats have brought in 40 new corporate sponsors - adding to the 53 they had last season. Newest on board are Husqvarna and CPI Security to "significant, multi-year" deals, according to Whitfield.
Whitfield said the sponsors are part of a package that includes other events at the arena - including concerts and minor-league hockey games - that has the arena booked more than 150 days a year. The Bobcats - who manage and operate the arena - recently signed with AEG Facilities, a booking company. that helped the arena land summer concerts by Paul McCartney and Justin Bieber.
"AEG has really helped us 'un-level' the playing field with our competition at places like the Greensboro Coliseum, RBC Center (in Raleigh) and (Winston-Salem's) Joel Coliseum," said Whitfield.
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