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Hornets' '100 in 100' Initiative Producing Impressive Results
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
September 15, 2011



As he spoke at a press conference Wednesday evening, New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu told the story of his citys efforts in the early 2000s to land an NBA franchise, despite being one of Americas smallest major cities. While meeting with NBA commissioner David Stern back then, a group of local officials explained that if the Big Easy were given a chance to host a professional basketball team, local citizens would demonstrate that as Landrieu put it in a boxing analogy New Orleans can punch higher than its weight.




Nearly a decade after the Hornets arrived in Louisiana in 2002, the New Orleans metropolitan area has provided more evidence that it can compete out of its weight class. During Wednesdays event, the team announced that it has exceeded 9,000 total season tickets for 2011-12.

Since launching their unique 100 Events in 100 Days initiative on June 7, the Hornets are No. 1 in the NBA in new season ticket sales, despite NOLA being the leagues smallest market. In general, the middle of the NBA offseason is a slow period for ticket sales, which usually accelerate in the fall when basketball season beckons. However, through an aggressive itinerary of personalized meetings with current fans and prospective ticket buyers, the Hornets have made excellent progress toward their ultimate goal of 10,000 season tickets sold.

We are almost there, but not quite, Hornets team president Hugh Weber said. This is really unprecedented in professional sports, what has been accomplished in the last 100 days. Were going to continue on this push until we get there.

Sticking with the teams emphasis on having significant one-on-one interaction with fans, Weber also announced that the Hornets plan to meet with every season ticket holder face-to-face over the next 365 days. Hornets head coach Monty Williams and general manager Dell Demps have shown their personal support for reaching out to the fan base by speaking at a vast array of team-hosted events this summer. On Wednesday, Williams also pledged to hold a contest (with details to be announced) among fans in which the winner will be invited to Williams home to talk basketball with the coach.

During Wednesdays press conference, Landrieu, Weber, Williams, Demps and Hornets team chairman Jac Sperling each spoke to the audience at Eiffel Society, which is located on world-famous St. Charles Avenue. Landrieus impassioned speech about efforts to ensure the Hornets long-term success in New Orleans drew some of the nights biggest cheers from a group of 100-plus onlookers.

If you think about it, during the first decade of the 21st century (there has been) 9/11, Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, the BP oil spill, the national recession weve been through a lot of stuff, Landrieu summarized. Weve been to hell and back. And the people of New Orleans are still standing. We have been through thick and thin together. Way back in the day (prior to the New Orleans Arena being built in 1999), nobody ever thought wed have an NBA franchise in New Orleans. We built an arena without an NBA team on hope and faith, and the confidence that the people of the city of New Orleans could deliver.

This (securing the future of the franchise in NOLA) is not the toughest problem that we have been challenged with, or our toughest one to overcome. That is why I am 100 percent confident that were going to get this done. I have personally spoken to Commissioner Stern numerous times. He is absolutely committed to keeping this team in the city of New Orleans.

But weve got to do our part. And its not that complicated. Youve got to put people in the seats and buy the tickets. We have to sell sponsorships. If you get those two things done, you can take it to the bank that were going to have local owners. We not only want to keep the team here, we want it owned by the people of New Orleans and by an ownership team here. I am really thrilled at the news today that we are outselling tickets for every team in the (NBA)... Its really important that we keep up the fight.

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