Throughout the 2008 offseason, the Hornets substantial rise in popularity in the Gulf Coast region was a major story throughout the NBA. The team more than doubled its season-ticket base last summer, after breaking New Orleans-era attendance records in every category during the division title-winning 2007-08 regular season.
The Hornets received so much attention for their unprecedented success last season both on and off the court that its easy to forget that the teams attendance actually increased again in 2008-09. New Orleans finished the recently-completed season with a total of 24 sellouts and an average attendance of 16,987 (including the two playoff home games). Both of those figures established new NOLA-era franchise records.
To show gratitude for the record-breaking support the Hornets again received from the New Orleans community and the region, the organization is hosting events this week as part of its Thank You Fans Week. The Hornets have scheduled various activities all week, including a Cinco de Mayo celebration taking place in Baton Rouge as I type this.
Like last spring, all 100-plus members of the Hornets organization will publicly thank fans for their support of the team on Friday, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Employees are congregating at five different locations Friday: the Central Business District in downtown New Orleans, Harahan, Mandeville, Metairie, Slidell and the Westbank.
I participated in last years Harahan event and thoroughly enjoyed meeting Hornets fans and talking about the team. If youre out and about during your lunch hour on Friday and see a large group of people waving signs and wearing gold Hornets T-shirts that read Thank You NOLA or Thank You Fans, do not be alarmed.