Regarding game ops, i need to start with some background. for the first couple of years we owned the team, i didn’t much focus on game ops. then one day a light bulb went off. when digging into why our season ticket base is so small, i was told it is because we can’t get 35-55 white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo for season tickets around the league. when i pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders. then i start looking around our arena during games and notice the following:
- it’s 70 pct black
- the cheerleaders are black
- the music is hip hop
- at the bars it’s 90 pct black
- there are few fathers and sons at the games
- we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel.
Then i start looking around at other arenas. It is completely different. Even DC with its affluent black community never has more than 15 pct black audience. Before we bought the hawks and for those couple years immediately after in an effort to make the arena look full (at the nba’s urging) thousands and thousands of tickets were being giving away, predominantly in the black community, adding to the overwhelming black audience. My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a signficant season ticket base. Please dont get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arean back then. i never felt uncomfortable, but i think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority. On fan sites i would read comments about how dangerous it is around philips yet in our 9 years, i don’t know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games. I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while i don’t care what the color of the artist is, i want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that’s our season tixs demo. i have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some time out contest is black.
I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black. Gradually things have changed. My unscientific guess is that our crowd is 40 pct black now, still four to five times all other teams. And my further guess is that 40 pct still feels like 70 pet to some whites at our games. Our bars are still overwhelmingly black.This is obviously a sensitive topic, but sadly i think it is far and way the number one reason our season ticket base is so low. And many of our black fans don’t have the spendable income which explains why our f&b and merchandise sales are so low. At all white thrasher games sales were nearly triple what they are at hawks games (the extra intermission explains some of that but not all). Regardless of what time a game starts, we have the latest arriving crowd in the league. It often looks and sounds empty when the team takes the floor. In the past two years, we have created a section of rowdy college students that has been a big plus. And we do a lot of very clever stuff during time outs to entertain the crowd. Our kiss cam is better done than any in the league. We have all the same halftime acts that other arenas have but i question whether they make sense. people are on their cell phones during half time. i wonder if flashing on the scoreboard “$2 off on hot dogs during halftime tonight” just as the half ends would be a better use of our halftime dollars and make the fans happier. We do all the usual giveways and the fans are usually their loudest when our spirit crew takes the floor to give away t-shirts. It pisses me off that they will yell louder for a t-shirt then for our players. Our player intro is flat. We manufacture a lot of noise but because of the late arriving crowd and the fact that a lot of blacks dont seem to go as crazy cheering (another one of my theories) as whites, it is not great.
Gwinnett Daily Post: A canceled trip to the Georgia Aquarium could have been a downer, but for a group of campers from Lenora Academy in Snellville, it turned into an opportunity they’ll never forget.
The change in plans meant a water day at the Fountain of Rings in Centennial Olympic Park and lunch at the famous Varsity restaurant in Atlanta. Little did they know the President of the United States of America would be joining them.
“We saw all the activity and (were) wondering what was going on,” said Dawn Washington, assistant director at Lenora Academy.
Just after noon Tuesday, the excitement began. “What’ll you have?” Barack Obama was asked as he walked into The Varsity at the start of the lunch rush. He ordered five chili dogs, four hotdogs and a cheeseburger for his traveling staff and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Reed’s mother Sylvia Reed.
Washington’s daughter, 11-year-old Armonie, got to shake Obama’s hand after a brief chat and photo opportunity, which included other Lenora Academy campers. “It was really cool. I would never expect to meet the president in real life,” Armonie Washington said. Washington said some of the campers were crying tears of joy.
AP: President Barack Obama is ramping up a fresh phase of his re-election bid with a bus tour next week, focusing more on direct engagement with voters and less on ritzy fundraisers.
Obama’s two-day road trip through Pennsylvania and Ohio — both are key battleground states in the November election — kicks off July 5, a campaign official said….
…. The president will still headline campaign fundraisers through the fall, but the official said Obama’s schedule would start to include more of a mix of campaign rallies and other events focused on speaking directly to a wide swath of voters in the states Obama needs most in order to hold the White House.
… Obama’s itinerary for the bus trip was still being finalized, but the official said the president probably would hold events in northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.