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FedExForum and Grizzlies impact on Memphis

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This article was in the CA

http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/busine...5360121,00.html

What are your feelings on the state of the Grizzlies, the FedExForum, and their current place in Memphis? There were rumors last week that Las Vegas was a possible relocation spot. At the same time, it seems the Grizzlies have a contract to stay in Memphis until 2020. Some people argue that even if there is a contract, cotracts can be bought out. Thoughts on that?

Also, have any of you been to both a Grizzlies game in the FedExForum and a Predators game at Gaylord in Nashville? How do they compare in presentation of entertainment even though they are different games and sports? And how about the facilities? I presonally found a lot of the presentation of the game at Gaylord had some things the Grizzlies could learn from. The crowd was certainly into the game and showed a lot of support of the Predators. The area outside around the seating area seemed more open and expansive. You can buy tickets and wristband in the Budwieser area the includes buffet food with all you can drink soda, wine, and beer. I don't think FedExForum has anything like that and I think if done correctly it might be a good sell. Also, my impression of the area surrounding Gaylord had a lot of places for fans to go and do things before, during, and after the games. Memphis has Beale Street but I wonder how many people stay to spend additional time and money in the area. Or do most people drive home and vacate the area once the game is over. Anyone have insight into that? What are possibilitites for development in the area south of forum? Right now the area seems unsafe and I'm not sure people would be okay walking in that area since it appears to be dimmly lit and it does not seem that police patrol the area enough.

The Grizzlies/NBA, Predators/NHL, and FedEfForum/Gaylord are two of the best stadium/entertainment venues in TN. What can they learn form each other?

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I used to have season tickets, but I just don't get excited about NBA basketball. I much prefer college sports. The FedExForum is very nice and has one of the best settings of any arena in the country. Some of the service is just brainless, though. The food is awful. The bbq nachos are barely edible. I went to the John Mayer concert a few weeks ago, and they quit selling alcohol before the concert was even half way over. That is ridiculous. Somebody needs to explain to management the difference between the Gaither Homecoming and a pop-rock concert. I went to the Elton John concert, and I just didn't like watching it from the upper level. I won't be going to any more concerts there unless I have lower level seats and I bootleg some liquor.

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Well I always thought there was plenty of things to do downtown after game. Of course there is Beale Street, Peabody Place, and plenty of other restaurants and bars to chose from. There is also museums like Mud Island and the Fire Museum, and plenty of parks. If its the right time, I think you could catch a concert in Court Square. You could ride the trolly, or even catch a horse-drawn carriage. I would say that there is more to do in downtown Memphis than a lot of other places.

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I think the Memphis Grizzlies have had one of the biggest impacts on the city. Having a NBA team makes a city's image look great. I love watching espn and hear them talking about the Memphis grizzlies. I have been a season ticket holder since they have been here, and losing them would be a major slap in the face. GO GRiZZ

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The Grizzlies aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Robin Leach's blog musings about Las Vegas getting the Grizzlies should generate no more than a mere chuckle; the guy is not in tune with pro sports realities.

What we're seeing with the Grizzlies is the maturation of a major-league sports team. Memphis enjoyed the highs of getting the team, getting a new GM, coach, and players in place, and going to the playoffs long before anyone gave them a chance to. Now we're dealing with the lows of another playoff sweep, an injured star player, the trade of a popular player, a bad season, a fired coach, a star player requesting a trade, and an ownership shakeup.

I hate Memphis receiving comparisons with "Hooterville," but we have some H-Ville-style fans when they start melting down over one bad year. I don't think these fans could live in New York and be Yankee fans because every season and off-season is a mega-drama even when they're good. The point is, this stuff goes with being a major league sports city. We have seen the good, now we're seeing the bad. I am optimistic this is going to swing to back to the good side.

As for Grizzlies-specific issues:

1) I think Hyde has the money and the civic horsepower to get an ownership deal done. The local business leaders say we need this team here, and Hyde won't let himself be hung out to dry.

2) If that happens and Jerry West leaves town as expected, ownership needs to get a 1st rate GM suddenly and let him start making deals.

3) I like some of these new players. Rudy Gay already has the ability to get the crowd whipped up, Hakim Warrick can score and get big rebounds, Alexander Johnson can be a presence inside, Lawrence Roberts is good off the bench to play defense and get rebounds, and Harrington/Kinsey show good potential in the backcourt. While it would have been great to keep Posey, Watson, Gooden, Knight, and especially Battier, this new crop of players seems to be a better group than the benches of years past.

4) Need better salary cap management. $15 million for Eddie Jones got us nothing. I still think you can win for less money in the NBA.

5) Local ownership, with the help of a better product on the court, needs to continue its success of local corporate sponsorship. They need to derive as much revenue away from ticket and concession prices as possible because $40 to sit in the upper deck and $6 for a cheeseburger doesn't cut it for most Mid-Southerners.

6) Renegotiate a better TV/Radio contract. A higher-power AM affiliate locally and more stations in the regional network will generate more revenue. Get a better TV deal so that we don't have to watch the Predators while the Grizz are playing.

7) Enhance the regional appeal of the team by playing a few preseason games in the area such as Jackson, TN (5600 seats), Martin, TN (6700), Jackson, MS (8000), Jonesboro (10000), Tupelo (8000), or Little Rock (17000). I know revenues might take a hit on attendance, but broadening regional appeal is a better long-term proposition with more weekend trips to see games, more apparel sales, and better radio/TV ratings leading to more media ad sales.

8) Enhance the game experience. Turn the volume down so it's not a continuous drone of bad rap music during timeouts. Keep pressure on Levy to make concessions better. My last game (02/13 vs. Hornets), the lines were short (maybe owing to the only 10K fans there), but the service was quick and friendly by urban Memphis standards. They might need to speak with their AZPark counterparts about food quality because I think it still needs improvement, but it's passable "ballpark" food.

As for the effect on downtown Memphis, I think it's unquestionably positive. It does help Beale Street during the slow winter months and it has contributed to more downtown development with the Westin deal and other upscale hotels and restaurants announcing or thinking of calling downtown home. The evolution of downtown does seem slow, but compare 2007 with 1997 and it's night and day.

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I am a Knick and Grizzlies fan. I am used to losing so the state of the team doesn't really bother me but the future looks very promising, especially, if the local investors land the team. My woman and I attended the Grizz vs. Celtics game and that was my first time in the FEF. It was vibrant, state-of-the-art, and the rows were very easy to get in and out of. I think the designers nailed it with the design,; it blended very well next to Beale St. More development around the FEF wouldn't hurt in my opinion. Oh and the Grizz lost. :0

I think the Grizzlies has had a positive effect on the City of Memphis. Drafting Pau Gasol, alone, gave the Organization and the City national exposure. Now the Grizzlies have been selected to play exhibition games in Europe, again, more exposure. Eventually, that has got to effect international flights..?

I wouldn't worry about the Grizzlies moving.

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I think the Grizz have had a major impact on the city. Just look at the Grizzlies House at St. Jude, the place is beautiful! I do believe that they need to rally more support from the fans just as they did during their first two seasons here. They had a pep rally at Peabody Place and the place was filled to capacity. A couple of players and the Michael Heisley were there. I think they also need to hit the local malls during the offseason to sign autographs and gain excitement for the team. They should have a caravan that travels to Nashville, Little Rock, Jackson (TN & MS), and all of the surrounding areas to pump up fans. When kids can see the players in person, they get really excited and want merchandise and want to attend games, etc!

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http://www.mbqmemphis.com/node/39

Saw this interesting article on the economics of the Grizzlies compared to other cities. Any discussion on the outlook for the Grizzlies in the city? What can be done (if anything) about revenue? Suggestions?

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http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2007/...ipe-for-growth/

This is an interesting article about one small impact the Grizzlies have had on Memphis in the years since they have been in Memphis. Sees that the premise is that the Farmers Market in downtown Memphis is a result of the wife of one of the Memphis Grizzlies' employees.

Agree? Disagree? Have the Grizzlies made a difference in Memphis and improved the quality of life for people in the Memphis area? Anyone else know of other examples? And more importantly, can such things indeed help draw people to Memphis to improve the talent pool and culture of the city and retain those looking to leave for other cities?

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The Grizzlies coming to Memphis brought about FedEx Forum, which IMO is what has really helped downtown. The new arena lured redevelopment projects to scores of lots around the new arena and opened up many more for development in the coming years. The pushing of the edge of the commercial zone further south has enabled a whole range of new opportunities for areas of the downtown long stagnant and enabled things like the Farmers Market just off South Main to be more successful than they might otherwise had been.

I was at the Farmers Market this past summer and it was covered up with couples, families, locals, etc. etc. mingling and shopping the fair the vendors had to offer. It was a great environment without a hint of apprehension that so many outside the city who are not familar with downtown would invision. It was very refreshing to see the vibrancy of that market.

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The Grizzlies coming to Memphis brought about FedEx Forum, which IMO is what has really helped downtown. The new arena lured redevelopment projects to scores of lots around the new arena and opened up many more for development in the coming years. The pushing of the edge of the commercial zone further south has enabled a whole range of new opportunities for areas of the downtown long stagnant and enabled things like the Farmers Market just off South Main to be more successful than they might otherwise had been.

I was at the Farmers Market this past summer and it was covered up with couples, families, locals, etc. etc. mingling and shopping the fair the vendors had to offer. It was a great environment without a hint of apprehension that so many outside the city who are not familar with downtown would invision. It was very refreshing to see the vibrancy of that market.

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^ Downtown and South Main absolutely were doing very well before the FedEx forum. I would argue though the FedEx Forum brought the redevelopment focus of downtown south of Beale, which up until then seemed to be a firewall for activity in the core aside from the South Main Corridor. The area between Beale and GE Patterson in 2001 was pretty desolate, in 2007 the area has FedEx Forum and a lot of redevelopment activity pushing southwards. I think beyond that the new arena brough a lot of renewed energy to the downtown area, which is often the case with arenas - with the Pyramid being a huge exception due to its poor location on the wrong side of the I-40 interchange.

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The Grizzlies have had a huge impact on local companies' ability to recruit. I know of about five college grads within my company that decided to move here and the Grizzlies helped them make their decision. A couple of the guys wanted to be able to see their home town NBA team play a few times a year. One guy seems to think that "big cities" have NBA & NFL teams and chose Memphis over Louisville and Chatanooga. The Grizzlies impact has definitely been positive and not negative.

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