Aug 2, 2013, 9:30 PM EST
This is how much the people of Charlotte hated the name Bobcats:
The league has approved a name change back to the Charlotte Hornets but that will not take place until the end of this coming season, yet already the team is feeling a financial windfall from it. (Unless you think fans are lining up to see Cody Zeller play.)
Most notably, new ticket sales are up 59 percent from last year.
“What’s really encouraging about that is the vast majority of those people have taken advantage of the two-year season ticket program,” (Bobcats’ executive vice president Pete) Guelli said…
The story is equally encouraging on the season ticket renewal side, where the Bobcats are up 11 percent year-over-year, already surpassing last year’s renewal number with months to go until the preseason begins in October. Many of those fans renewing also have taken advantage of the two-year ticket plan offered to new season ticket buyers.
We know there is a love of basketball in Charlotte, but the management of the team since the days George Shinn was running a virtual “what not to do” public relations clinic has been bad. Michael Jordan has not been able to turn it around so far.
But getting back the Hornets name is a big step — the nickname hornet has been tied to Charlotte going back to the Revolutionary War when a Red Coat general called the city a “hornet’s nest.” The city identifies with hornets, right down to one being on the police uniform. The name Bobcats had no local ties (although the owner who picked it was Bob Johnson… so guess where people thought it came from). The name Hornets had moved to New Orleans when Shinn moved the team there, but new New Orleans owner Tom Benson wanted the name changed to something local to that city and went with Pelicans. That freed up the Hornets name.
This is a start. On the court, with Al Jefferson in the post, the Bobcats should be better next season, but not good. However, if you’re picking a year to be bad, this is it.
If the Bobcats get a top prospect in next year’s draft the will be closer to what will really fill up the arena — a winning team.
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