A How-To Guide for Hosting a Playoff Game in New Orleans

Published: April 21, 2015

Important events require careful, clever planning. Surprise parties, international trips, festivals, New Orleans comedy festivals, cross-country road trips, graduations, and most relevantly to you, fine reader, a postseason basketball game. Specifically a postseason basketball game in New Orleans, the city still proudly holding the big game championship belt. Final Fours, Super Bowls, All-Star Weekends, College Football Playoffs, Wrestlemania, and eventually, an NBA Finals game.

As the focus of this David (Pelicans) and Goliath (Warriors) series shifts from northern California to the Gulf Coast, let’s alley some playoff ideas to the team running the game behind the scenes. Hopefully the ideas get oop’d.

Seriously, a major tailgating event for Thursday
Tip-off for Game 3 is scheduled for what is usually about halftime for a regular game. While this will hopefully result in a full crowd for the first bucket (something New Orleans isn’t particularly used to as our late arriving reputation is becoming a sad universally known fact) it’s far too late for the average person. An NBA game, on a weekday, ending after 11:00p won’t faze the most passionate bunch (our Tracey’s watch party was full until the game was over on Monday). The issue here is that the most passionate bunch aren’t necessarily able to afford tickets to a postseason NBA game. Solution? Make it a night-long party. Get a heavy hitter music act in Champions Square. Let’s second line to the Smoothie King Center. We start at 6:00p. Free beer. This could become a New Orleans postseason tradition.

Please, a shirt on every seat
The Pelicans did give away those Smoothie King-sponsored red shirts (easily the best home opener shirt giveaway in recent memory) back in October, but we were robbed of the “shirts draped over the seats” visual. Sources tell me this was an issue behind the scenes – not sure if someone ordered shirts too late or if not enough folks were on hand to physically put the shirts over the seats. Regardless, I hope we get playoff shirts draped over the seats and I hope everyone who looks at my phone is okay with that being my background image for the next 12 months.

WarriosShirt2015Okay, what do the shirts say
 The Warriors went with a strong, but generic, “Strength in Numbers” slogan. It’s not the worst idea possible, but it’s not much higher than “Our city is good at watching basketball games in person.” The best part of this shirt is the loud banana yellow-ness of it. The visual of 20,000 Warriors fans decked out in loud sunshine is going to be striking. How can the Pelicans match up?

My vote is for Red Out. I know there’s a lot of fans who aren’t nuts about the team’s red jerseys. Those jerseys, however, are superior to the home whites in every way, most notable the font size. Whatever we can do to twist the arm of ownership to make Red the home color, sign me up.

Other candidates: It’s Geaux Time (yes, some think we are on the brink of being “Geaux’d out” but it’s relevant and hasn’t been used in the postseason) , Take Flight (sure, it’s the occasionally pushed team hashtag, but why not take the slogan and imply it’s sticking around for a while?).

For real, the music at the game
This is the most obvious thing that should boast the bigger payoff. When the house brass band was lined up a few years back playing us in and out of time outs, it was one of the most New Orleans things our home team had ever done. I know I am not alone in saying I’m over “day-oh” chants at key defensive moments in the game. Give me “Defense” chants when we don’t have the ball and local music as we bring the ball up court. Alternative idea: a permanent in-house DJ. If one of the above ideas doesn’t happen by tip-off 2015-2016, I’m calling the police.

Chris Trew is a comedian, New Orleans native, and Pelicans season ticket holder. His podcast is available right here (you should listen to it) and he performs weekly at the home for New Orleans comedy, The New Movement. Follow him on Twitter.

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