First off, thank you for welcoming me into your community. I'm sure there were some raised eyebrows at first, but hopefully I've answered your questions openly and honestly and given you some idea as to the direction and thinking of the organization on a variety of topics. I thought I would take a moment to re-vist a thread we started back in January, I believe, about the things you would like to see the organization change that could in turn help us build a bigger fan base. This is not so much an exercise in checking off items on the list, but more a remider of the great ideas you guys had that we as an organization haven't had a chance to evaluate and/or act on yet.
By sheer volume, the television situation appeared to be issue number one back then. While we have obviously taken enormous strides to improve our carriage throughout the region thanks to Time Warner Cable, FSN South and MyTV12, there are still a few kinks in the new system (Upstate SC, outside of Wilmington, etc) that we're working on now. As soon as I hear more I will post here on the board.
Issue number two appeared to be what we call internally "experential marketing" - the way you as fans experience our brand (game presentation, events and promotions, interactive opportunities, etc). This is a pretty broad category with a lot of different feedback ranging from the noise level in the Arena to player accessability to the dance team. In addressing your concerns, I can tell you that in the offseason, teams review every facet of their business - including all the things you've alluded to. There will be post mortems on our game presentation, player appearance program and dance team performance among many. Those reviews typically take place starting now, with the rest of the summer spent preparing for next season and beyond. Just like our players, we spend the offseason trying to improve as well.
Issue number three was the website. We've had a lot of discussion subsequent to the re-launch. Now that you've had it for a few months, what are your thoughts? Getting used to it? Like the emphasis on video? Is it meeting our goal of making Bobcats.com the most comprehensive source of news about the team? Let me know.
Then there were a number of issues that had one or two comments covering an extremely broad range of topics from the supposed "arena boycott" (of which I've never seen any evidence, but I love Mayor Pro Tem Burgess' response to that question: "The Arena is here, it's wonderful, get over it!") to the supposed "Hornets hangover" and antipathy towards the NBA. After a season like this, with 8 50-win teams in the West, a resurgence of the franchises in Boston, Philly, Atlanta and New Orleans, a phenomenal All-Star week, the tightest MVP race in years, a ratings bonanza across the board (nationally, regionally and locally), a new record for hits to NBA.com, and the emergence of the game's soon-to-be leading stars (Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, etc) who are all terrific guys off the court as well, I find it hard to believe that the whole world is excited about the NBA again - except for this market. Maybe it will take a playoff run by the Bobcats to turn things around. Which leads to the final issue. . .
"Coaching change/win more" games seems to be the most universally hailed cure to all of the above ills, based on the number of active threads devoted to this topic. There's no question that winning does that for an organization. The Hornets aren't doing anything new from a game presentation/dance team/website/television standpoint that has suddenly captured the imagination fans in New Orleans and given them 9 consecutive sellouts. But doing all of those things well in the first place, long before they had a division championship team, makes everything standout when the team starts winning. Internally, we call it being "50 win ready". And the great thing about the NBA is, putting a 50 win team on the floor can happen very, very quickly. That means we have to get ready right now.
With Coach Brown on the sidelines, great young talent whose potential will really have a chance to come out and a few players on the verge of becoming All-Stars, we should be on our way a level we haven't experienced yet. What else, as an organization, should we be looking at to get ready for success on the court?