SBD/October 19, 2010/Franchises

NBA Franchise Notes: Heat Seek To Combat Late-Arriving Crowds

Heat Launch Campaign To Try To Get Fans To Arrive On Time

In Ft. Lauderdale, Sarah Talalay reported the Heat during last night's preseason game against the Bobcats launched "Fan Up, Miami!" in response to the fact that "late-arriving crowds are the norm" at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat as part of the campaign are encouraging fans to "watch the team warm up courtside before the game, even if you're sitting upstairs -- and exit the bars and balconies (they'll help by putting drinks and snacks in to-go cups and containers) early enough to get to their seats on time." Early-arriving fans will be "rewarded with discount cards good for merchandise and concessions." Fans in the arena concourses and clubs "will notice the sound getting louder as game time approaches." Talalay noted the tenets of the campaign include "Fan Up  ... means being in your seat for tipoff ... and staying there until the final buzzer" and "Fan Up ... means there is nothing fashionable about showing up fashionably late .. it's just late" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 10/18).

GLAD TO HAVE YOU: A Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL editorial stated the "controversial decision" to build the $250M FedExForum in order to attract the Grizzlies from Vancouver "was a smart move." The original agreement with the franchise "to grant first refusal rights for concerts and other performances ... turns out to have been a smart move." The Grizzlies in exchange "agreed to cover operating deficits," which "has been a yearly obligation for the Grizzlies, not local taxpayers." Meanwhile, "important to Grizzlies followers are the difficult-to-quantify but undeniable intangible benefits of fielding a major league sports franchise." The Grizzlies "may not be the biggest draw" in the NBA, but they "attract one of this city's most diverse gatherings." The editorial: "Memphis might not be 'Griz Country' quite yet, but things seem to be moving that way" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 10/16).

SOCAL FOR THREE? Lakers G Kobe Bryant said that Orange County "deserves its own" NBA franchise. The Lakers will play the Jazz in a preseason game at Honda Center tonight, and Bryant said it is "fun playing" at the arena "because I know how badly they want a team down there in Orange County." Bryant: "They definitely deserve one. ... You see how they support the Ducks and how they support the Angels. I think having a basketball team is well deserved" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/18).

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