The Trail Blazers gathered various local media on Tuesday in team president Chris McGowan’s office to discuss a various range of topics pertain to the business-side of the organization, including ticket sales, improvements to the Moda Center and the Rose Quarter and television ratings. Some of the highlights …
· “As an aggregate,” according to the team, “prices (for season tickets) are increasing overall by about 5 percent …” The team notes that some price are going up, while other customers will see their season ticket prices drop. For example, seats in the “Fuchisia” sections, which include sections 103, 105, 108, 110, 114, 116, 119, 121 and areas of 106, 107, 117 and 118, will go up 7.7 percent. In contrast, some “Blue” seats, which include parts of sections 106, 107, 117 and 118 are decreasing in cost by 21.5 percent next season.
The changes were made after an “analysis of the Moda Center determined that ticket prices were not aligned with market demand. In some areas, we were priced high, while others were underpriced.” The Trail Blazers are in the “top tier” in tickets sold among NBA teams, but have season ticket prices which are “in the bottom half of the league.” The team says they will continue to avoid blanket discounts in order to make sure season ticket holder continue to get the best deals.
According to the team, “Season ticket holders have experienced average savings of 29 percent this year over average individual ticket sales price (saving range from 12 percent to 56 percent).”
· The Trail Blazers currently rank fifth in average attendance at 19,625 and have 15 sellouts this year, which is one more than at this point last year. Though pointed out that, since there’s a wide range of what constitutes a “sellout” in the NBA, the use of the word doesn’t mean much.
· The team is moving to Ticketmaster as their ticketing service. McGowan said one of the main complaints they hear from season ticket holders is the difficulty of using the current system. They hope that switching to Ticketmaster, which almost every other NBA team uses, will alleviate some of those issues. Ticketmaster will be the ticket service provider for all events at the Moda Center.
· Food and beverage vendors Stumptown Coffee and Salt & Straw ice cream will join the expanded list of local concession options at the Moda Center. McGowan said it is likely those will be the last two additions to concessions at the Moda Center, at least for the foreseeable future.
· The team has three large scale capital improvement projects that they’ll embark on this offseason, which will be announced in March. The projects will not impede the upcoming arena football season.
In addition, there will be new LED lighting installed outside the Moda Center that will allow for differnt coloring to be projected on the arena on a night-to-night basis. There will also be new “Moda Center” branding on the arena.
· There will be a new restaurant opening in the space formerly referred to as “The Game” which is directly across the Rose Quarter from the south entrance at the Moda Center. It will have a “Portland” feel and menu and will be open only on game nights and during events. The open date for that is scheduled for March 3 of this year.
The team is also in the middle of re-landscaping the Rose Quarter, as you may have noticed if you’ve attended a game at the Moda Center recently, that will feature plants with a “sustainability focus.”
· In regards to the team broadcasts, ratings have improved 62 percent on KGW games and 55 percent on CSNNW games over last year’s ratings. Current ratings are at their highest since the 2006-07 season and of Western Conference teams, Portland ranks second for local broadcasts and third for cable broadcasts.
When the Western Conference first round series between the Trail Blazers and Clippers started, many assumed it would be a quick affair, with the Clippers eventually moving on to face the Golden State Warriors in the second round. And after Warriors point guard Stephen Curry suffered a knee injury that will keep the reigning MVP sidelined for the start of the second round, much of the conversation revolved around how that would improve the Clippers’ chances of beating the defending champs in the Western Conference semifinals. The fact that the Clippers still had to beat the Trail Blazers two more times didn’t seem to make much of a difference.
A few days later, that narrative has flipped. Leading the series 3-2 with a chance to clinch in Game Six tonight at the Moda Center (tipoff scheduled for 7:30 pm on KGW, ESPN and 620 AM), the Trail Blazers are now Golden State’s presumptive opponent, as injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have all but ended the Clippers’ playoff run.
But just as the Clippers still had to win four games to advance, so too do the Trail Blazers, which is a good reminder that there are no such thing as inevitability when it comes to sports. “That’s why the play the game,” might be trite, but it’s still as true as it ever was, something the Trail Blazers know as well as any team still alive in the postseason.
“We just go out there and play, we don’t really pay attention to what’s being said,” said CJ McCollum. “You can’t read into that too much. First we were supposed to get swept, first we were just happy to win a game, so you just go play. You don’t really worry about the other stuff, you just control what you can control, keep your mindset the same, understand that nothing is inevitable. You’ve got to go out there and play.”
Though the Trail Blazers were able to beat the Clippers 108-98 at Staples Center in Game Five sans Paul and Blake, a team led by JJ Redick, DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers still managed to take a five-point lead into the half and had the game tied at 71-71 going into the fourth quarter, so it’s not as if any team, including Portland, can just roll the ball out in a playoff game and expect to emerge with the victory. After all, if that were the case, the Clippers would already be in Oakland preparing for the Western Conference semifinals.
“We understand that they’re a good team,” said McCollum “Regardless of what’s happened, regardless of what injuries they’ve gone through, they’re still a good team and we’ve still got to go play the game.”
And we’re back. After the Trail Blazers defeated a shorthanded Clippers team 109-98 in Game Five at Staples Center to take a 3-2 lead in the first round series, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net/TrailBlazers.com, hit the Moda Center studios once again to deliver another playoff edition of the Rip City Report podcast. Please consider listening…
On this episode, Joe and I discuss the Trail Blazers being on the verge of winning just their second playoff series in the last 16 years, what we’re expecting to see during Game Six Friday in Portland, make our picks for the Trail Blazers’ MVP and most surprising during the first five games, how the injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin change the narrative surrounding the series and answer some of your Twitter-submitted questions regarding Chris Kaman’s birthday, non-Moda Center places to watch Game Six, player playoff bonuses and give a few binge watching suggestions, not that you’d ever need to watch TV again with all these fine podcasts we’re providing for you.
After struggling in the first few games of their first round playoff series, the play of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in Games Three, Four and Five has been one of the main reasons the Trail Blazers hold a 3-2 advantage versus the Clippers. Mason Plumlee has arguably been Portland’s most valuable player, and both Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless have delivered game-changing performances at times during the series, but the attention Lillard and McCollum draw from the Clippers’ defense has allowed for their teammates to have a chance to shine in the postseason. And despite L.A.’s defensive gameplan focusing almost exclusively on stopping Portland’s starting backcourt, Lillard and McCollum are combining to average just over 40 points a game during the 2016 playoffs.
Given that, and the fact that they even made the playoffs, let alone are a game away from winning Portland’s second playoff series in the last 15 years, TNT analyst Charles Barkley declared on last night’s edition of “Inside The NBA” that Portland’s backcourt is second only to Golden State’s, the team the Trail Blazers would face should they advance to the next round.