Sports 56 WHBlog Q

October 24, 2008

Grizzlies need some love

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 3:37 pm

I realize these are Millionaire athletes who play for a Billionaire owner, but they are “Our” team. The Grizzlies have become part of the Memphis and Mid-South fabric, having played here for the entire decade after their birth in Vancouver. The problem is that there is so much hate. NBA haters, Downtown Memphis haters, spoiled athlete haters etc. Is it impossible for people to embrace this team?

The Grizzlies are doing all they can to make the game fan friendly. They are lowering ticket prices and getting their players out in to the community. They have given tens of thousands of dollars to charity and the needy. They are everywhere you look. But where are the fans?

I am getting tired of the excuses. I understand the economy is bad, but the team is having problems giving away tickets. I understand downtown may be a 45 minute drive for you to come to the game. Well, try going to a game in L.A., Chicago or New York. You don’t know how good you have it.

This is no longer about the product. I am not naive to understand that winning will cure some of the attendance ills, but this goes beyond performance. There are people who believe they can’t support the Tigers and the Grizzlies at the same time. In fact they often pit them against one another. And I’m not just talking about economic support. There are many people that won’t even cheer for this team or watch them on Television.

This is our one shot at the big time. If we can’t support one “Big Four” Professional Sports franchise, we will never get another sniff at the NFL. Now I’m not saying we will get another chance, but you can bet your life that if this fails, Memphis becomes a Pro Sports black hole.

In a Metro area of 1.2 million people, you would think you could get about ten thousand season tickets sold, and a nightly attendance of 15-16 thousand. This season the Grizzlies will be lucky to average 8 grand a game.

It’s the freaking’ NBA. It’s Lebron and Kobe, it’s the Lakers and Celtics. I don’t care if you don’t all root for the Grizzlies, just come out to see the stars.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….if the support is not there, this team will say adios to the city once Owner Michael Heisley sells it. Forget the stiff penalty, this team will go to a place where their welcomed and supported. And bottom line, will become economically viable.

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