SBD/July 7, 2014/Franchises

Grizzlies' Ticket Sales Remain Strong, Including Waiting List For Lower-Level Suites

Execs said the Grizzlies are on pace to match last year's 90-plus percent renewal rate
The Grizzlies are "reporting robust ticket sales" for next season and are also "finishing the process of renewing leases on the lower-level luxury suites," according to Zack McMillin of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Grizzlies VP/Ticket Sales & Service Dennis O'Connor said that the franchise is "on pace to match last year's 90-plus percent renewal rate among season-ticket holders." Grizzlies VP/Marketing & Communications John Pugliese said that if some of the season-ticket holders for the 27 lower-level suites "do not renew," there is a waiting list. The team also is showing off a new product called “Grizzlies Theater Boxes,” in which the arena takes "three current club-level suites" and partitions them so that there are "six private boxes of four to six seats." The pricing "includes access to every FedExForum event." The concept is "similar to mezzanine or balcony seating at a theater or opera house, but with a common area in behind the seats." Grizzlies COO Jason Wexler said that the new boxes are "aimed at offering premium suite access and amenities to individuals and companies for whom a 16- to 20-ticket luxury box is not an option." Wexler said, "There’s a lot of businesses that want to entertain and a very high, premium level but maybe can’t fill 16 to 20 seats for every event." He added, “They are targeted for people who do a lot of private-client type of business or families who may want a more exclusive environment.” O'Connor: "We're on pace to hopefully get a franchise record in FSE number and also in revenue." Meanwhile, Wexler said that the franchise is "making strategic investments in 'business analytics.'" McMillin wrote with Grizzlies Owner Robert Pera appearing to "spend more time directly involved" with the franchise, expect to see his influence "showing up more on the business side" (Memphis COMMERICAL APPEAL, 7/4).

EARNING POWER: The MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL writes after a month that began with the firing of CEO Jason Levien, things have "calmed down" and are "looking good again" for the Grizzlies. Pera's regime is "slowly earning more trust from fans" as the owner "disappeared back into the ether that he materialized from in time for the draft." Pera will "never be as outgoing" as late former Owner Michael Heisley, nor will he ever be a "high-profile celebrity" like Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban. But what Pera "needs to understand" is that if he is not going to talk to fans outside of his Twitter account or radio appearances, he needs to "find someone within the organization that he trusts and empower them enough to speak on his behalf" (MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/4 issue). 
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Franchises, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

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