SBD/Issue 144/Franchises

Grizzlies Execs Pleased With First Season In Memphis

Despite a 23-57 record so far in their first season in Memphis, and "even though ground still hasn't been broken on a new downtown arena, a bond has been formed" between the Grizzlies and their fans, according to Ron Higgins of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Grizzlies VP/Business Operations Mike Golub: "I think we've converted a lot of casual fans, who simply wanted to sample the product, into diehard Grizzlies fans." Higgins wrote that though attendance "has been up and down," Grizzlies officials "say that they are on target as far as their projected financial loss." Grizzlies President of Business Operations Andy Dolich said that the team "is among the top six in the league in group ticket sales, despite the late start into the market." Dolich: "It's a lose factor, and we're in the ballpark of what our projected numbers were. But there has been a tremendous upside moving from Canada because we don't have the exchange rate. The game grosses have been much better." Meanwhile, Higgins added, "Judging from the response from Grizzlies fan focus groups as well as surveys of season and power pack ticket holders, most fans like the product and hope it will stay." Each season ticket or power pack buyer is assigned a Grizzlies account exec to "improve the experience of attending a game." At home games, "at least 30 sales and marketing staff members move throughout The Pyramid to help fans and make notes of how to improve the operation." Dolich: "I even go undercover. I park in the parking lot with fans to see how long it takes. I stand in concession lines to see how long the line lasts. I want to know if the hot dogs are hot, if the cold drinks are cold. I want to know if I'm seated correctly." Higgins wrote that the Grizzlies also "have focused on the younger crowd through community service programs." Golub and Dolich "are astounded at the number of kids at Grizzlies games, even on weeknights" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 4/14).

OH WHAT A FEELING: Last weekend, the Grizzlies relocated their business and basketball operations to the Toyota Center Building near AutoZone Park. Since moving to Memphis, the Grizzlies had "maintained their business and basketball operations in separate downtown locations" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 4/16).

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