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Bob Johnson Says Charlotte is not doing enough to support his Team

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Bob Johnson told the Charlotte media today the city was not doing enough to support the Bobcats. He wants an outpouring of support from leaders and politicians so people will buy more tickets.

It would seem to me that giving him a close to $300M taxpayer funded arena for free, one where he collects all the revenues from any event, and doesn't even have to pay property taxes, is a lot of community support. How is it that he has the nerve to ask for more?

He did not say what he would do if he doesn't get his way. When this happened with George Shinn, he packed his bags and took his team to NO.

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If he takes his (losing) team to another city, it'll be the same old story of "lack of support". And like Shinn he might move them.... AGAIN.

People will support the team more if they're seen as winners, and an asset for the city.

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Think David Stern is having second thoughts about awarding BobCat Johnson a franchise? Nah. City leaders practically handed him the keys to a house rent free and he claims poverty. For an absentee owner who built his empire off of BET, I don't not feel one bit of sympathy for him.

People will buy more tickets when:

a. tickets are more affordable for the average joes

b. the team actually starts having winning seasons

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Think David Stern is having second thoughts about awarding BobCat Johnson a franchise? Nah. City leaders practically handed him the keys to a house rent free and he claims poverty. For an absentee owner who built his empire off of BET, I don't not feel one bit of sympathy for him.

People will buy more tickets when:

a. tickets are more affordable for the average joes

b. the team actually starts having winning seasons

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I think the NBA is regaining some of its excitement (still nowhere near the days of MJ), but college basketball will always reign in my book.

Did Bob Johnson ever look at history of NBA in Charlotte? When the owners start beotching, the fans stop supporting. What little fanbase the Bobcats do have will drop off if he keeps this up. Bob Johnson hasn't given us anything to cheer about yet, so why should we be excited? He needs to learn to keep his mouth shut, and maybe actually making some decent personnel decisions would help.

What does he want our politicians to say? "Come see the Bobcats, who haven't had a winning record yet in their years of existence!"

Gimme a break. I just hope he doesn't pull out like Shinn. I doubt he will, and hopefully he would sell before it got to that point.

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Besides the short sightedness Mr. J displayed with the original in-house TV deal, the egotistical team name (Bobcats), the color orange which so many in Charlotte relate to (NOT!), being an out of state owner (despite buying a condo at the Radcliff), bringing in gangsta style partners, and declining to sell a majority stake to one of the legends in BB (MJ), then condoning MJ's aloofness with the fans, playing games with ticket prices, playing in an arena with no name (until last week), playing predominantly urban music at games (may be what the younger crowd likes, but not my fave), repeating the love affair with UNC Chapel Hill, a la J.R. Reid, May, Felton, ad nauseum, having a "loveable" mascot named RUFUS, miserable half time shows, enjoying exercising his Miranda rights (staying silent for long periods), miserable personnel decisions, including coach and GM, I can't think of a reason why this branch of the Johnson empire has failed to catch on. Wait, maybe it's the time he has invested in building Virginia hotels, or maybe of late, his compulsion to speak out on the most uniting of subjects...politics. Any chance of swapping this team for the Hornets? And their name.

I was in favor of a downtown arena even before the old Tyvola site was picked. Yet, I was a part of a focus group last night where the question was asked: Who is interested in going to a Bobcats game?

The group was unamimous in its response that this would not be appealing. I do think those who were opposed to the "new" arena need to get over it. We're all taxpayers, and despite the promise that Mr. J will make up defecits, he could go a long ways towards winning community support by re-negotiating his sweetheart deal with the City. Would it be too much to offer high school graduations there? After all, the playoffs look further away than ever, after taking a step back this season. So graduations shouldn't conflict with playoff games for quite some time.

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The O followed up on their doomsday Bobcats story today saying quoting Johnson as saying that he has no plans on selling the team or moving them, he is just trying to make them more profitable. The way the contract with the city is set up, he would have to pay hefty fines if he takes the team elsewhere anytime soon.

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The O followed up on their doomsday Bobcats story today saying quoting Johnson as saying that he has no plans on selling the team or moving them, he is just trying to make them more profitable. The way the contract with the city is set up, he would have to pay hefty fines if he takes the team elsewhere anytime soon.

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My wife and I have tried against overwhelming odds to like the Bobcats. We live in the Asheville area, where there is zero marketing, apparel consists of two t-shirts at Foot Locker, and nonexistent TV coverage (for some reason the games that are on SportSouth and FSN South in Charlotte are not on in my area).

We have gone to one game each of the last two seasons and had an OK time both games (they lost last year to the Rockets and this year to the Celtics). I can't really say that I had "fun" either time. I think that has something to do with the quality of the play more than the intangibles.

I would suggest to Mr. Johnson that he first focus on improving the team. A winner puts fannies in the seats. Second, I would suggest he study the geography of North Carolina (and South Carolina). Their appeal could go beyond the immediate Charlotte region if they worked at it. I think the TV deal will help with that.

I also think Johnson needs to look at the model that George Shinn represents in New Orleans. The Hornets' page has one whole section about the Shinn family and their community work. George is on several boards and so forth. Obviously Johnson can't do that since he lives in another state, but a better presence wouldn't hurt. That goes for MJ too. I'm sorry but he is the most famous basketball player ever and instead of using that to bring attention to the team, he holes up in his office? What a waste.

I wish them success, but they need a turnaround plan soon.

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Like many folks who are from Charlotte, I grew up going to Hornets games. When they left, I felt burned. Now that we have the Bobcats, I could care less. There's no nostalgia going to watch the team that was plunked here a few years ago. So for natives like me that are old enough to remember the Hornets, the Bobcats strike no emotional chords. On the other side you have transplants, which come from other cities with allegiance to other teams. Top that with perpetual losing records and high ticket prices and you arrive at where we are today. If the Bobcats manage to stay here long enough to build a fan base from the ground up I think they'll do fine.

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^Indeed Shinn did the same sort of thing in Charlotte. He was after all born and raised in Concord. I don't think Johnson has the same interest.

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Just to be clear, Johnson wasn't calling for general fan support. He was saying that the business community has not supported the team to date -- as evidenced by the lack of an arena sponsor, empty luxury boxes, etc. And he's probably right on that point; it doesn't seem like the Bobcats are anywhere near as integrated into the community as the Hornets were even during their dark days.

But the bottom line is that the burden is (and has always been) on Johnson to put a good product on the floor. So far he has not done that; despite having a gorgeous arena and sweetheart deal with the city, the Bobcats are generally not all that entertaining either on or off the court. Clearly Johnson still doesn't fully grasp Charlotte as a pro-sports market, and I can't help but believe that his ignorance springs from a lack of commitment to the community (living there, giving back, etc.).

Charlotte is the kind of place where you can frequently find the 5 most important people in town on the same golf course. If Johnson really wants the business community behind his team, perhaps it's time for both him and MJ to put some serious time into personally promoting it rather than hiding behind the curtain.

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Charlotte is the kind of place where you can frequently find the 5 most important people in town on the same golf course. If Johnson really wants the business community behind his team, perhaps it's time for both him and MJ to put some serious time into personally promoting it rather than hiding behind the curtain.

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I agree with most of the comments, however, almost everyone has mentioned that the team needs to win, well apparently you havent been watching this season.

The bobcats as of today are 31-50, far better than previous seasons, and they are plagued by injuries. Arguably there two best shooters (morrison and may) have been out all season. Next season they should easily finish at .500, which in the east will practically be in the playoffs. A good draft wouldn't hurt. I think the franchise is definitely on the upswing, as is the NBA as a whole, this has easily been the most exciting season since the jordan era.

I do agree that charlotte alone will not support this franchise, the bobcats have a huge market, and need to play that out in NC and SC as best they can.

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Then they need to go out and sell it! If MJ and The BOB can't give that to the program then Charlotte business will not buy.

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I agree with most of the comments, however, almost everyone has mentioned that the team needs to win, well apparently you havent been watching this season.

The bobcats as of today are 31-50, far better than previous seasons, and they are plagued by injuries. Arguably there two best shooters (morrison and may) have been out all season. Next season they should easily finish at .500, which in the east will practically be in the playoffs. A good draft wouldn't hurt. I think the franchise is definitely on the upswing, as is the NBA as a whole, this has easily been the most exciting season since the jordan era.

I do agree that charlotte alone will not support this franchise, the bobcats have a huge market, and need to play that out in NC and SC as best they can.

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cltheel.sdl your correct.

here is the franchise's records:

04-05 season 18-64

05-06 season 26-56

06-07 season 33-49

07-08 season 32-50

at least they finished march and April at 13-11 (which included a 5 game loosing streak)

I agree with rooster8, I live outside of charlotte and their games are NEVER on TV, yet when Im in charlotte at my girlfriends place the games are always on, im hopping the time warner deal improves that.

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Yes, the Bobcats did underimpress, but we got to give Jordan credit for bringing in Jason Richardson and Nazr Mohammad. Those two are KEEPERS. While I'd like to see Fabio's production from last season, the fact of the matter is, we could expend him since we have so many wing players. Picking up Nazr for Hermann and Brezec was brilliant. Getting J-Rich for our #1 pick Wright was a brilliant move too. J-Rich has proven to be an All-Star, especially towards the end of the season. So even with all of the negatives, there are some positives in this season, and those come from the acquisitions we made.

Some glaring things that have to take place are: replace the coaching staff, replace some personnel groups, get us a more consistent PG and a viable PF and we have ourselves a team.

Next year is the make or break year for the Bobcats. We have to produce, or this fan base is over.

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I agree with most of the comments, however, almost everyone has mentioned that the team needs to win, well apparently you havent been watching this season.

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I went to the game last night and wanted to add a few things in light of what's been discussed here and in the news:

1) Support from the local business community - I'm not sure what BJ is referring to when he sights lack of support. Lowe's, Wachovia and Harris Teeter are very visible throughout the billarboards in the arena, activities during time outs and halftime, t-shirts, etc. Of course I'm not sure what they pay for all that, but in my book they are definitely putting their name out there. No real references to BofA though. Can't say I'm surprised considering they already have their name on the Panthers stadium, one of our Nascar races and are the official bank of MLB.

2) Owner presence - Believe it or not Jordan was actually at the game last night. Though it was only one half. I guess maybe he has to get paid for sitting on the court for a full game. Nelly, who is also a co-owner of the team, sat next to him in the first half but he stayed the whole time. Bob Johnson was at the game as well.

3) Ticket affordability - This is one of the things I have a beef with. Tickets to Bobcats games are very affordable. I'm not sure on the exact numbers, but their tickets are among the lowest price in the league. You can get upper level tickets for a mere $20. I think some even go as low as $10 and $15. Peak Fitness had a flyer at their gym (I work out there) for tickets to the game. It was buy one get one free. We got two lower level tickets for $45 total. You can't beat that. They normally go for $55 each in that area. You won't get deals like that everytime for a game, but sometimes you have to look for it. Beers are overpriced. But what sporting or entertainment venue doesn't overprice their beer and food? Only exception to me is Ovens.

4) Head coach - I believe Vincent will meet with Jordan today. They almost blew another 20 point lead last night. I think it's 50/50 on him staying. The team may need to go another direction with a more experienced coach.

EDIT: Bob Johnson was at the game.

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good points debull.

1. The business community doesn't owe anything to the Bobcats.

2. It would have looked bad if Johnson or Jordan's was NOT at the game, especially considering what Johnson said to the Observer.

3. Tickets may seem afforable if you are single or go with a friend. For a working family of 4 or more, it may not seem affordable (depending on tix price, sur-charge, food, parking, etc.)

4. I agree on this, Coach Vincent is 50/50 to stay or go. Frankly, they never should have hired him in the first place. I wanted to see an experienced HC, not a first timer.

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Its great having the NBA in Charlotte, but as others have mentioned the ownership is too standoffish and then arrogantly wonder why nobody cares about the team. Partly winning will help, but unless things change with the ownership the fanbase will continue to remain apathetic. The best scenario would be to sell the team to local ownership who are active in and passionate about Charlotte. If not, Kansas City Bobcats... Seattle Bobcats...

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The best scenario would be to sell the team to local ownership who are active in and passionate about Charlotte. If not, Kansas City Bobcats... Seattle Bobcats...

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2) Owner presence - Believe it or not Jordan was actually at the game last night. Though it was only one half. I guess maybe he has to get paid for sitting on the court for a full game. Nelly, who is also a co-owner of the team, sat next to him in the first half but he stayed the whole time. Bob Johnson was at the game as well.

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3. Tickets may seem afforable if you are single or go with a friend. For a working family of 4 or more, it may not seem affordable (depending on tix price, sur-charge, food, parking, etc.)

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