SBD/April 23, 2012/Franchises

Grizzlies Hope To Use Upcoming Playoffs As Boost To Ticket Sales Efforts

Entering Saturday night's game, Grizzlies' attendance was up 6.4% from last year
In the Grizzlies' "quest to further build their fan base, to further repair a season ticket base that dwindled a few years back, and to help fortify the team's financial health for the future, they'll look to capitalize on what they hope is the team's most exciting stretch of the year," according to a front-page piece by Kyle Veazey of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Team President of Business Operations Greg Campbell said, "We will take whatever enthusiasm we derive from this playoff run and we'll use [it] in the summertime to collectively add on throughout the whole summer." Veazey noted last year's playoff "run provided the blueprint." Team officials said that despite the lockout, the Grizzlies sold 2,600 "new season tickets." The club said that that was "among the five best new sales numbers in the league." Entering this past Saturday night's game, attendance was up 6.4% from last year, the fourth-best "improvement in the NBA." The club also said that the Grizzlies retained 85% of their "season-ticket holders after last season, setting a franchise record." Grizzlies VP/Ticket Sales & Service Dennis O'Connor said, "We're ahead of last year's renewal pace, which is obviously good, but even better because our season-ticket base is so much higher than it was last year." Team Senior Dir of Marketing Communications John Pugliese said, "This is the time to capitalize. We're buying additional billboards, additional TV, radio and print and we're being very aggressive in starting this weekend and through our playoff run with our messaging: playoffs, guaranteed with season tickets. Again, it's a very season ticket-driven campaign." During last year's playoff run, the Grizzlies' "Believe Memphis" slogan "blossomed." Club officials said that the slogan will "continue to be part of the team's branding through the playoffs and likely for years to come." Veazey noted earlier this year, Grizzlies Owner Michael Heisley "created an advisory board of local business leaders," and Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Kevin Kane said that he "hopes it results in a 'rallying call' of Memphians to bump up their support of the NBA in town." It also "could help lead the franchise to a lucrative pool of money, one that could help balance the books and make it more attractive to a prospective owner," as Heisley has been looking to sell the team (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 4/22).
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