SBD/April 6, 2012/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Predators predicting a sell-out crowd for at least first couple of playoff games
In Nashville, Allyn & Cooper in a front-page piece report there is "reason to believe that fans could turn out like never before" when the Predators begin postseason play next week. The team would not disclose how many playoff tickets have been bought, but Predators VP/Sales & Marketing Chris Parker said that sales "have been brisk." He also "predicts a sell-out crowd for at least the first couple of games." Allyn & Cooper note sales "have been bolstered this year, in part because the team has long known the playoffs were in sight." The Predators last year "knew it was headed to the playoffs just a few games before postseason started." Parker said that the timing "made it difficult to plan a marketing campaign and gave fans a shorter notice about purchasing postseason tickets" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/6).

HOPING FOR A NEW TRAIL: In Portland, Jason Quick wrote judging from “the pockets of empty seats” at Wednesday’s Nets-Trail Blazers game, “more and more fans are losing confidence" that the Trail Blazers' management team will "give them a reason to renew" their season tickets before the April 12 deadline. However, Trail Blazers President Larry Miller said that he has “made 'progress' on his search for a general manager.” Miller knows that the candidates he is interviewing “will be in position to make a splash this summer.” He added that the current management team “has a plan for this summer, and the plan is to instantly transform the Blazers back into a contender” (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/5).

POPULAR PEOPLE: In Chicago, Danny Ecker noted a Scarborough Sports Marketing survey of 4,100 Chicago-area households showed the Blackhawks' fan base “had the largest percentage growth among all teams in the four major sports leagues over the past five years” in the area. The survey showed 43% of respondents “watched, listened to or attended a Blackhawks game during the 2011-12 season, up from 8 percent in 2007-08.” The Hawks' level of fan participation is now “fourth-highest in the NHL,” behind the Penguins, Sabres and Red Wings. The survey showed the hockey team “falls short” of the Bulls' fan reach of 46%, the Cubs' 50% and the Bears' 65%, but tops the White Sox' 40% (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 4/4).

POTENTIAL MOVE? In Oakland, Marcus Thompson II wrote if the Santa Cruz City Council “approves the funding of a 3,200-seat temporary facility downtown," the Warriors NBA D-League team will move to Santa Cruz next season. The plans call for Santa Cruz to loan the estimated $2.5M cost of the project to the Warriors. The Warriors would “provide $500,000 in basketball-related equipment and guarantee half of the loan, which is expected to be paid back in full through revenue from the D-League team.” If the project is not approved, the D-League team will stay in Bismarck, N.D. (IBABUZZ.com, 4/4).
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