SBD/Issue 150/Franchises

Out Of Tune? Jazz Having Trouble Selling Tonight's Playoff Game

Jazz Reminding Fans Playoff Tickets Are Still
Available With Full-Page Newspaper Ads
The Jazz are hosting the Lakers tonight in Game Three of the first-round NBA Playoffs match-up and the team in recent days has been running full-page ads in the local newspapers "reminding basketball fans that ... tickets are still available," according to Michael Lewis of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. Such a "scenario would have seemed preposterous six months ago, when the Jazz began the NBA season amid soaring excitement and high expectations." But the "easy availability of tickets suggests that many fans have all but given up on the team as it limps toward an inglorious end to what began as a promising season." A Jazz spokesperson said that a "'limited amount' of tickets remain for tonight's game, though he declined to say exactly how many." Nearly 600 seats were available "through just one of the myriad online ticket brokers" yesterday. Recent sales of team merchandise have also been "unspectacular" at a Fanzz apparel store in Sandy, Utah. But Fanzz store manager Derk McDermaid said that "many fans buy memorabilia on the day of home games, so today will give him a better indication how far passion has plummeted" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 4/23).

SLOW BUILD TO TAKEOFF: Last night's Heat-Hawks Game Two at Philips Arena drew a sellout crowd of 19,146 (Mult., 4/23). However, in Atlanta, Larry Hartstein reported by mid-afternoon yesterday "about 1,000 tickets remained" for the game. Several fans were "pleasantly surprised to be able to walk up and buy tickets Wednesday afternoon." Hawks Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Tracy White before the game said, "We know the game is going to sell out -- we just don't know at what point" (AJC.com, 4/22). Meanwhile, also in Atlanta, Sekou Smith notes the Hawks' official live mascot "ignored his usual pre-game flight path," stopping in the stands, on the midcourt scoreboard and on the camera over one of the shot clocks. Officials stopped play with 8:48 to play in the first quarter to allow the bird's handler to retrieve it (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/23). TNT's Dick Stockton said the hawk, “not happy with (just) flying around in the pregame, wanted to get into the action during the game as well” (“Heat-Hawks,” TNT, 4/22).

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