SBD/Issue 142/Franchises

Knicks Offer Free Food, Drinks At MSG For Fan Appreciation Night

Knicks Offer Unlimited Free Food
During Fan Appreciation Night
The Knicks last night hosted Fan Appreciation Night at MSG for the team's final home game of the season, giving all fans unlimited free food and non-alcoholic drinks starting one hour before tipoff, according to Peter May of the BOSTON GLOBE. The giveaway was a first at MSG, and team merchandise also was on sale with discounts up to 30%. MSG Senior VP/Sports Marketing Howard Jacobs said the promotions were announced "to find a meaningful way to show our fans our appreciation" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/15). On Long Island, Neil Best reports MSG "drastically beefed up staffing and supplies," though Jacobs would not say by how much. The Knicks are 23-58 on the season, and Jacobs said, "We know it's been a difficult year on the court, but tonight is really about saying thank you." All normal menu items were available, and Jacobs added that he believed the giveaway was "unprecedented in major pro sports" (NEWSDAY, 4/15). In N.Y., Marc Berman notes the lines were "speedy and fans behaved with decorum." One fan said of the giveaway, "It's like a bar mitzvah with an NBA game as dessert" (N.Y. POST, 4/15). The N.Y. TIMES' Howard Beck writes the Knicks thanked "their irrationally loyal, perpetually tormented fans." Though the team called it Fan Appreciation Night, the fans "surely would have traded the food for a higher-ticket item, namely the termination" of Knicks coach Isiah Thomas (N.Y. TIMES, 4/15).

CHECKETTS WEIGHS IN: Blues Owner and former MSG President Dave Checketts in a radio interview yesterday said of Thomas: "The bottom line is that with the highest payroll in the history of the game for years and years, he doesn't have a playoff win to show for it. That's how you make that evaluation." Checketts added the Knicks do not have an "environment that demands winning, that expects winning and the kind of character guys that want to win" (1050ESPNRADIO.com, 4/15).

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