Jordan Remains Committed To Transforming Bobcats Into Elite Team
Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan yesterday "reaffirmed he's committed to making the Bobcats an elite team," according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. He "won't predict how long that might take, in part because he doesn't know how the new collective bargaining agreement will look." But "when confronted with the perception by some fans that Jordan is cheap, he defended himself vigorously." Jordan: "I don't want people thinking we're not willing to spend or that we're dumping salaries. I want to spend money on a team that gets us into the top four (in the East). I would love to do that. That's all we think about" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/14). Jordan said, "We want to get to the top, and once you get to the top, you want to stay at the top. I want this city to understand what it feels like to be an elite basketball team, an elite team in general. Sometimes you have to do some spending, and I'm not afraid to do that. But once we get there, we belong there, we want to stay there. I'm committed to getting us there and I'll do everything in my power to get us there" ("Bobcats Live Pregame," SportsSouth, 4/13).
LEADING THE CHARGE: FS CAROLINAS' John Manasso wrote Jordan is "using his political capital to benefit the small-market Bobcats at the bank." The Bobcats this past season "had a 93 percent renewal rate on full season ticket equivalents and led the league in new ticket accounts with 2,500." They also "earned their highest regular season television ratings in their seven seasons." Bobcats TV announcer Steve Martin said of Jordan's efforts, "It has paid off big dividends and lifted the team, especially in the ticket office. He's paid a lot of attention to improve and motivate to sell and move the needle" (FOXSPORTSCAROLINAS.com, 4/13). In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen writes, "In the new NBA, teams collect talent. That talent tends not to seek small markets such as Charlotte. ... Jordan is the equalizer. The Jordan brand fills the boardroom. Jordan is charismatic and glib and sounds committed." Sorensen adds, "Just as Jordan sells T-shirts, he has to sell his team." Jordan said, "Why can't Charlotte be that destination? It has been in the past. It was. Why not now? I like to think we have the organization to do that. And I will do everything I can" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/14).
A STABILIZING PRESENCE: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted the Bobcats entering last night's season finale against the Hawks "were averaging 15,839 fans per game at 19,000-seat Time Warner Cable Arena, comparable with last season's attendance." Business and community relations for the franchise "have stabilized after an era of diminished results and expectations" under former Owner Bob Johnson. Ticket and sponsor sales "have increased under Jordan's stewardship, while the Bobcats have launched a more ambitious civic and charity campaign to keep the franchise visible year-round." Jordan "pronounced his first year as an NBA owner as fun and enjoyable," saying the team has "spent the year trying to invest back" into the community. Jordan: "Our work force has been an extension of who I am and where we want to go. I think they've done a heck of a job, from the basketball to the business side" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/13).