Hornets Looking For Business Stability As On-Court Play Develops
Hornets execs are "feeling much better as change sweeps through" the organization, all the way "down to the hot dogs and sodas sold" at Spectrum Center, according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Hornets Exec VP & COO Pete Guelli said ticket sales have been "better than anticipated." Spanberg noted "subtractions and additions to the season-ticket rolls left the Hornets with 11,000 full-season buyers," which is in line with the past several years for the team. Smaller ticket packages of 8, 12 and 23 games will "combine to add the equivalent of about 1,000 full-season plans, which also "matches recent sales figures." NBA teams "consider 10,000 full-season equivalents a benchmark of financial stability." In the past year, the Hornets also have "struck several sponsor agreements that are key to long-term stability or reflect interest among corporate backers to expand existing contracts." Spectrum falls into the latter category, as the cable company has its "name on the arena and, this year, became title sponsor" of the Hornets' 30th anniversary season. Spectrum is paying an "estimated $200,000 to $500,000 for those rights." Guelli also said the better-than-expected financial performance is due to the "massive changes on the basketball side." He added that "nostalgic interest driven by an aggressive marketing and sales campaign around the 30th anniversary season" has helped. However, Spanberg noted the Hornets are still asking fans to "be patient (again)" for a team that has "reached the playoffs a grand total of three times in 14 years since the NBA returned to Charlotte" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 10/11).