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.
Greetings podcast enthusiasts. Between CJ McCollum getting an extension and Moe Harkless signing a new deal, Portland’s roster for the start of the 2016-17 regular season is all but finalized. So it seemed like a good time to hit the studio with Joe Freeman of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com to record yet another edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…
On this edition, we discuss the near-max extension for McCollum and the four-year, roughly $40 million contract for Harkless, which directions Terry Stotts might go in terms of starting lineups and minutes allocations, the news that both Al-Farouq Aminu and Festus Ezeli will forego playing for Nigeria at the 2016 Summer Olympics, give a quick rundown of the preseason schedule and answer your Twitter-submitted questions.
Last weekend, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum and his older brother, Errick, were guests on ESPN’s SportsCenter to discuss, amongst other things, The Basketball Tournament, which is billed as a “open application, 5-on-5, single-elimination, winner-take-all basketball tournament” in which the winning team takes home $2 million in prize money. Errick’s team, Overseas Elite, won the tournament last year and are in the finals, which airs Tuesday at 4 PM Pacific on ESPN, again this year.
But the tournament wasn’t the only topic of conversation, as any time you get two brothers together, you’re contractually obligated to ask them which is mom’s favorite. One one had, CJ still lives with his mom, so you might assume he’s the got the No. 1 son ranking sewn up, but it sounds like Errick was the much better behaved child and mom’s tend to have long memories, so it sounds like it’s a bit of a tossup.
“CJ, he was a good kid,” said Errick, “he just liked to get into things. He was really physical. She couldn’t take him around any other kids or he would, like, get into little altercations with them because he just played too rough.”
Sounds about right.
On Thursday, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was a guest on The Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio. Over the 15 minute conversation, Stotts discusses LeBron James saying he would have been his pick for 2016 NBA Coach of the Year, Kevin Durant signing as a free agent with the Golden State Warriors, the notion of “super teams” in the NBA, having confidence in your players and his participation in the Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive.
You can listen to the entire interview here, though I’m transcribed a portion which you can read below…
On LeBron James saying Stotts should have been Coach of the Year:
“To be honest, it felt pretty good. I have a lot of respect obviously for LeBron, what he does and what he’s done in his career, but for him to come out and say that, it made me feel good.”
On Cleveland winning the NBA Finals after being down 3-1 to Golden State:
“Obviously it was historical. A lot of things went into it, but when a team can do that and to win two games on the road being down 3-1, it’s really remarkable. It just put an end to a historical season as it was with Golden State and what they did during the regular season, the way they came back against Oklahoma City and then for Cleveland to do that, it was just remarkable. I thought it was a remarkable season to begin with and it finished that way.”
On Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors:
“My first reaction was he earned the right to be a free agent. I know a lot of thought went into it and it wasn’t a decision that he took lightly. I know he took a lot of criticism for making that decision but I think he earned that right to make whatever decision he felt was best for him. I think it’s going to be interesting with Golden State. Obviously defending them is going to be a challenge because — we talked about versatility — they were already an extremely talented offensive team and he’s going to make them better. They’re going to be a different team than they were last year, they’re not going to have the big guys. When you lose Festus Ezeli, who is on our team now, and Andre Bogut and Maurice Speights, the look of their frontline is going to be different. But I think they could be just as good just because of what they’ll be able to do at the offensive end.”
His thoughts on “super teams” in the NBA:
“You know, I don’t know if it’s good or bad for the league. I’ve just kind of accepted that that’s the way things are. I know people have made comparisons when LeBron went to Miami and that was supposedly the first super team and they won two championships, but it’s not like there was a five year, seven year run dynasty. When you get out on the court, you still have to play the games. Obviously Golden State is going to be very good, but you’ve got to play an 82-game season, you’ve got to go through four series to win a championship. I think the league does thrive on star power, whether it’s star power within a team or having a team be a star. I don’t know, I think the league is doing extremely well, I think it’s extremely popular. I think this is just another story that people are going to be interested in.”
On having confidence in shooters like Allen Crabbe and CJ McCollum:
“I’m a big believer in confidence when shooting. It probably goes back to my freshman year in college when I didn’t know whether to shoot or (laughs) you know the phrase. But anyway, I’m a big believer in confidence and Allen and CJ are two different categories. CJ struggled with injuries his first two years and was trying to get incorporated into a roster that was winning 50 games and never really got into a rhythm. I think shooting is about rhythm and confidence. Same thing for AC, really, is that he did have opportunities to play in his first two years but he was playing behind Wes Matthews and Nic Batum and his opportunities on the court were limited. When you’re looking over your shoulder and trying not to make mistakes and putting pressure on (yourself) to make a shot, it’s difficult. I really give it to CJ and Allen, they were ready for this year and they were prepared for it, the opportunity was going to be there. But I think that a lot of players — and you know, you played — is that if the coach trusts me, I’m going to play better. Whether I trusted them or not their first two years, certainly their opportunity was there and I trusted them with the role that they were going to have.”
On his participation in the Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive:
“Every year what I do is I go through the closet and knowing that I’m going to get some suits in the fall, I go through and weed out the older ones. There’s certain ones that I do kind of have a special place in my heart for them, but other than that, I just take some of the older suits and the Men’s Wearhouse has a great program with the suit drive to give away suits to people who can use them. I’m kind of a bigger guy so hopefully there’s some big guys out there who are able to take advantage of them.”