Introducing Homegrown Night

Published: December 4, 2010

The Hornets, more than any NBA team, put on quite a show for their fans. Nobody else does pregame parties every game with live music. There isn’t another team that gives free beer to their season ticket holders, while charging only a dollar for everyone else. There are inflatable games and basketball hoops outside the arena for the kids, face painting stations, and even a caricature artist. Some might think the Hornets don’t do enough, but compared to other NBA franchises, they win in a landslide.

Once the game starts the party moves inside and is complemented by authentic New Orleans food options and good old Hornets basketball. For some reason, though, the music stays outside and instead fans hear the same recorded tracks that every other arena in the NBA plays. I like hip hop and all, but it gets a little old hearing the same songs over and over and over.

A few days ago James Grayson did a piece on how the Hornets could increase their exposure and fan base in New Orleans. He mentioned some ideas such as changing the name of the Arena, or putting blue lights on the CCC. It got me thinking about some other ways to get more people interested and watching the Hornets, and thanks to a comment or two by you lovely people, this is what I came up with.

What if the Hornets could further embrace the city, while selling more tickets as a result? The New Orleans market loves music, and hates commercialized stuff. For one game a month just drop the sound effects and the recorded music. Bring in Soul Rebels or Rebirth and have them do the music. Still want to play the favorites? Grab Lil’ Wayne and see if he wants to do some hip hop to get the crowd riled up. Something tells me Lil’ Wayne would be thrilled to do something like this. If it’s not him then get another local musician. There are plenty.

Call it “Homegrown night” and promote the crap out of it.

Having local bands performing the music at a game is a fantastic way to get new fans into the Arena, especially those who might otherwise never attend a Hornets game. A lot of people have this image in their heads of the NBA being a thug league and the Hornets just being one of the crowd. Something like this could go a long way toward changing that perception.

I’m not saying do it every time, but even just once a year would go a long way toward getting some new fans to tune in.

The more the team embraces the local culture, the easier it is for fans to get and stay involved. If we’ve learned anything since 2002, it’s that this isn’t your ordinary NBA city. People in New Orleans just have higher expectations for fun than fans in other places, and even though the Hornets do an awesome job making sure the games are fun for everyone, there is always room for improvement.

Or maybe it would be horrible. Either way, I just wanted to throw it out there.


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