SBD/Issue 56/Franchises

Storm Front: NLL Team Debuts In NJ, Will Rely On Promotions

The NLL NJ Storm made its debut last Friday against the NY Saints before an announced crowd of 7,634 fans at Continental Airlines Arena, according to Brad Parks of the Newark STAR-LEDGER, who placed the attendance at about 2,500 despite reports that 15,000 tickets had been sold or given away. NLL Storm Owner Jayson Williams, who invested about $1.5M in the franchise, said, "We're just getting started, I'm pleased with the crowd." Parks wrote that the Storm featured a "light show, fireworks spurting in the sky, ... a mascot with a lacrosse stick that shoots fire, and special appearances by" NFL Giants CB Jason Sehorn and free agent P David Wells. Williams: "I don't want anyone to be bored. I want them to go to a party and have a lacrosse game break out" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 12/1). Williams said that the Storm will use promotions "galore to attract those who normally would not have much interest in the sport." The first 5,000 fans at Friday's game received a T-shirt. Other promos include a Williams bobblehead doll night on December 8, as well as a diamond giveaway on February 8 in which the first 1,001 women will receive a stone, with "only one of them being a real diamond" (Bergen RECORD, 11/30).

A PIECE OF THE ROCK: Saturday's Toronto Rock-Vancouver Ravens game, the Ravens' inaugural game at GM Place, drew an announced crowd of 13,772, an NLL record for an expansion team on opening night (CP, 12/2). However, in Toronto, Grant Kerr writes that the crowd "appeared considerably smaller" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/3).

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