Managing Interest in the New Orleans Pelicans

Published: September 8, 2013

Never miss a play, though you make quite a few
You give it all away . . . everybody wants you

— Billy Squier, Everybody Wants You

New Orleans Pelicans News

Finally, the New Orleans Pelicans Practice Facility is open for business. That makes one less thing between the Pelicans and `normal’.

On the business side of the house, the Pelicans (along with the Saints) have entered into a marketing relationship with The Advocate. Talking with marketing people in the business, a daily paper is key to getting word out about games, generating walk-up business, and more.

Most of The Advocate’s New Orleans editorial staff was on hand as well, though editor Peter Kovacs said the newspaper and sports teams’ partnership would not extend to editorial in any way, but simply be a marketing and promotional tool for both entities.

Make no mistake about it, mutual benefit or not, this is also Mr. Benson expressing his disappointment at the ownership of the long-time daily in New Orleans (I’ll not help them at this point), as he did here.

Around Bourbon Street Shots

This week, Chris Trew’s latest Trew to the Game compared the Saints’ avian friends (the New Orleans Pelicans) to their avian foes (the Atlanta Falcons). It’s always fun to run down the Falcons, even on a basketball site.

Speaking of cross promotion . . .

`Voices’ of the People

best part about Benson owning the team. Cross marketing.


Way to keep us going Trew! Agreed that the dirty birds just don’t have a chance against our bad-boy, carnivorous Pelican:
-Pelicans can grow up to 30lbs with an empty beak!
-Pelicans ancestry goes back 30 milliion years…likely when they were swooping in to grab baby lochness monsters..Ffalcons less than 10 million (little infant babies in comparison)
-Speaking of baby Falcons..did you know what they are called? EYASSES..need I say more (
-Pelicans were plunge diving well before artists were diving off of stages into mosh pits, too. Sure Falcons can plunge, but they’re not going to do so UNDERWATER!
I’m guessing our Pelican mascot is going to need one helluva gullett/gusett to chomp people up at the games!
Trew, you need to do a Pelican You Tube skit in the manner of the Honey Badger…(“Look at that crazy Pelican…he just doen’t give a S***!” …you’ll get a bazillion hits so just remember I get some royalties on it.
Pelicans rule!

Pelican Poster



42 Sense

Interest is in the New Orleans Pelicans is on the rise. This is due in part to the rebrand and the newness. The personnel changes . . . and some non-changes . . . have turned some heads. The Benson organization has steadily brought the Saints brand to prominence through successfully managing their assets, including star talent like Drew Brees.

With their NFL franchise, the Benson’s have enjoyed season ticket sellouts every year since returning from their Katrina-induced exile, a feat not achieved before that point despite having greater population prior to Katrina.

Think about that.

Among other things, it illustrates that it’s not just the size of the market that determines how well a community can or will support a team. There’s way more to it, and pundits on the ocean coasts have yet to recognize that, at least in large numbers. Particularly, New Orleans is a special place, and so is our Gulf Coast, as Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Issac, and more have reminded residents.

Plus, looking only inside Orleans Parish for support is a mistake. The surrounded parishes, the northshore, Baton Rouge and more support the Saints. Mississippi, for example, has license plates commemorating the Saints’ Super Bowl victory. The team’s success is a reason for this, but, ironically, so was their lack of success.


For decades, the Saints were miserable despite having Archie Manning leading the way for a number of years. Years of struggle can bond people, for example. More subtly, anyone could get a ticket to almost any game . . . cheap. The reversal of fortunes of the team combined with a notion of civic pride keep the Dome sold out, the remnants of the days of easy access keep up a healthy secondary ticket market, even in years where the team is not winning as much . . . like 2012.

By contrast, the Charlotte Hornets led the NBA in attendance for a number of years and did so from the start, which was a testament to the Charlotte community. It’s understandable why attendance declined, but when the city was awarded a new franchise . . . the results were not duplicated. Despite getting the Arena that was asked for and being rid of George Shinn, the fans just did not come back. It can be argued that the fan base was `burned’, and didn’t support the team as a result. Some will suggest that the brand played a role. Ownership has certainly been a factor, but was it that clear that Bob Johnson would be so horrible in the first season?

I posit that a factor was that the Coliseum was so difficult to get into when the Charlotte Hornets appealed to more than the most die-hard fans, even when losing, that the broader community was not trained or given the `bug’ to go to the game (or much else). Thus, when it was time to pony up for Bobcats tickets, you had people burned by Shinn, die-hard fans who would go to games in almost any circumstances, and people who had no idea what they were missing.

So, they are left with die-hards. That’s nice, but it does not pay well.

So . . . I urge the Pelicans NOT to sell out on a season ticket basis. A strong season ticket base is essential, but the NBA business (and schedule) is different from that of the NFL. Group tickets, especially for groups of younger fans, represent a long-term investment in the fan base. Walk-up tickets allows visitors to a city that is larger and richer than it may appear due to constant significant tourism and convention business (another overlooked point) to enjoy a game then return to their homes to tell people how great the game and city are. It also allows your embryonic season ticket holders to start to grow into full-fledged season ticket holders that spew passion and money. These are rare commodities . . . fractions of percents of the population . . . you MUST cultivate these.

Like actual pelicans, the New Orleans Pelicans need to learn to fish, not fill their bellies off of one big fish handed to them in response to a series of events that is impossible to duplicate . . . here, at least.

Use the Advocate, the Saints, 870, your season ticket holders . . . your friendly, local, unpaid bloggers . . . to spread the word and fill those seats. Just play the long game.


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