Charlotte Hornets counting on business bounce as NBA regular season opens – WSOC Charlotte

The Charlotte Hornets have set sales records this off-season, stand poised to build on the popularity of 21-year-old All-Star LaMelo Ball, bolstered corporate support with nine new sponsors, and secured $275 million from the city for arena renovations and a new practice center.

Now comes the hard part — winning.

“I’d say our business is very strong,” Hornets President and Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield told CBJ during a recent interview at Spectrum Center. “I think a lot of it is our exciting team, our up-tempo style.

Having LaMelo Ball as an up-and-coming superstar in our league. I’m not sure our fan base has been this excited in years.”

Whitfield predicts attendance will grow to 17,500 to 18,000 per game during the upcoming season. In 2020-21, Charlotte, with an average of 17,092 fans per home game, was in line with the NBA average of 17,173.

Industry consultant Marc Ganis pointed to Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan’s increasing interest and involvement in league matters as another positive step for the organization.

Beyond Jordan’s engagement, the franchise’s hometown has become a more important asset.

“It’s an environment where the government encourages business development, in contrast to places like California or Illinois,” Ganis said. He added that North Carolina’s growth aligns with what sports teams need — “the kinds of demographic shifts that bring in both young people who are interested in going out and businesses that are interested in entertaining and aligning themselves with sports teams.”

Read the full story here for a look at how the Hornets’ business rebound is shaping up.

(WATCH BELOW: Hornets host Media Day before training camp; sign free agent LiAngelo Ball)

Hornets host Media Day before training camp; sign free agent LiAngelo Ball

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