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Eff the Hornets Attendance Problem

Published: December 2, 2010

I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. Not because I’m worried about the team actually being moved, or because the seemingly arbitrary (although probably not) number of 14,735 is particularly meaningful to me. No, it’s because I’m sick of playing defense. I’m sick of having to defend New Orleans as a basketball city. I’m sick of having to defend the Hornets as a good basketball team. It’s like just when the fire from the team’s awful preseason and Paul wanting to leave finally died down, this comes along.

In a matter of two days my position on the attendance matter has gone from blaming the fans to blaming the ownership and everywhere in between. The reality of this situation is that nobody is to blame, but so is everybody. To distribute said blame accordingly I’ve put everyone into groups, and then given a brief explanation of their placement.

Stop being so awesome

The city and people of New Orleans- You try and deal with having constant stream of entertainment that (let’s be honest) rivals that of Hornets games for a huge number of people. It’s said that this is a football town, but the truth is that it’s more of a music town than anything. On Wednesday night there were 48 different live music acts listed on the WWOZ (best radio station ever). Insane Clown Posse was less than a mile away from the Arena, and they were listed as starting at 7pm. Oh, this was a Wednesday night. Other events that have taken place during this season include Voodoofest, film festivals, and a little event called nighttime on Bourbon or Frenchman.

The Saints- Superbowl champs say Who Dat!?! Yes, it was a thrilling Lombardi Gras to say the least, and they are looking pretty good this year. For a city that has waited so long for a championship, and suffered through so many years of ineptitude, it’s hardly surprising that the locals are more into the Saints than ever before. We might be experiencing a bit of the Superbowl hangover at the Arena. There is room for more than one team in the hearts of every New Orleanian, but football will always come first for most, and especially after a title. Even non-Saints games prove to be a problem. Tons of people stayed home this most recent Sunday to watch the Falcons game on TV.

LSU Football- I’m not a college football guy, and I didn’t go to LSU, but I still can’t help but watch when they’re playing. They’re just fun. How many fourth down conversions and last second trick plays can you have in a season? Answer- a lot. Fans that went to the game against the Trailblazers on 11/13 had to choose between one sport and the other. That choice isn’t hard for many people, even when LSU is playing a division 3 school.

This is why you keep your mouth closed

Chris Paul-  Yes, Chris Paul. Whether you feel this way or not, a lot of people were a bit put off after the summer of speculation surrounding CP3. Everyone knows he does a lot of good for the community, and single-handedly kept basketball viable in New Orleans after the storm. Unfortunately everyone also knows that he wanted out this summer, and was making comments about leaving us. Some of you know what it’s like to commit to a relationship and then find out secondhand that the other person doesn’t feel the same way. That’s what it felt like when New Orleanians heard that Chris wasn’t happy here. We sort of knew he was frustrated, we kind of understood, but we still didn’t like it. The timing (following an injury riddled season) was horrible. I remember hearing one friend remark “Didn’t they just pay him 14 million dollars for like 40 games? Poor guy.” upon hearing that he was unhappy in New Orleans. Understandably some feelings were hurt, and it’s going to take some time to get over it.

*Note- I don’t really feel this way, but a some people do.

Gary Chouest and George Shinn- Guess how many people would have asked/questioned/reported on/made up stories about the sale if it was never mentioned originally? Zero. This was something that didn’t need to come out until it was done. It’s been over eight months now since the “impending” sale was announced and we have yet to hear anything. Frankly, I don’t care since Shinn has always done a solid job of putting a competitive team out there and I doubt that Chouest was going to be drastically different in his first year of majority ownership. There are some, though, who feel a lot of uncertainty about the team’s future here. The attendance issue compounds this, and the lack of information about ownership has only further snowballed the concern in certain minds.

Billy Hunter (NBA players’ association executive director)- This guy is the worst. I understand that negotiations are  delicate subject and that you want to get the best for those that you represent, but how about some common sense? You don’t go out and tell the world that there is a “99 percent chance” that the league will be locked out in less than a year. Guess what, Billy? The average person isn’t going to waste their time getting involved with the NBA since according to you, they won’t be able to watch it next year. For a franchise that needs to get new people involved, this is just unacceptable behavior from someone so high up.

Quit being stupid and get your heads in the game

This goes out to some combination of the Hornets, CST, and the NBA. I talked about the Hornets broadcasting problems a while ago, and we got some more detailed information from TopherPrice shortly afterward. This issue is so related to attendance it isn’t even funny. I’ve been watching away games at a friends house all year because out of principle I just won’t pay over 500 dollars just to watch 41 Hornets away games. There are a lot of people who won’t give up Sunday Ticket, many who simply won’t get Cox, and even more who watch all their television online. These are all potential ticket purchasers. Get something done.

Whoever said that contraction was possible- What’s the fastest way to get a local fan base to lose interest? Leak that they are on the list for possible contractions. MORON!

Give it a chance

NBA Haters- For this one I’m looking right at all those football die-hards who feel threatened that another sports team is in town. And more specifically, all the fools who have never been to a basketball game in their lives, but still trash it. Whenever I meet one of these clowns  in person I give them a piece of my mind, so I won’t hold back here either. It’s pathetic, to say the least, to pass judgment on an event you have never even been to. They should be ashamed of themselves for discouraging others from doing something that they have never even tried themselves.

I don’t get it, but I still blame you

High School Football- Apparently it’s is really big around here. Maybe I just don’t get it because I grew up in a a town where high school football was about as important as women’s soccer, but the locals here love it. Fortunately the season is almost over so all those Friday night games won’t have as much competition.

You there, in the Arena

Oh, you thought you were getting off scott free? Absolutely not. Do you bring a friend to every game? Do you have seats for your business that you give away to customers or associates? Do you donate to charities that allow underprivileged youth to attend games? Do you tell your friends about Hornets247? I’ve met more people who have answered the question “Why are you a Hornets fan?”, with “Well, I went to a game and I was hooked”, than I have any other kind of Hornets fan. All it takes is one game to get someone new on board. If we all make a concerted effort to get more new faces at games, we can and will make a difference going forward.

Anyway, during the second half of the season a bunch of these problems will go away, and I’m fairly sure that attendance will shoot up drastically, just like it did in 2007-2008 once people realized the team was good. Let’s hope that happens before it’s too late to meet the attendance benchmarks.

Check out 42’s post on attendance for more early season numbers.


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