CHARLOTTE—The buzz about changing their name is paying off for the Charlotte Bobcats.
“Our numbers are up dramatically from where they were this time last year,” Bobcats President Fred Whitfield said.
Whitfield said season ticket sales took off after the club announced the return of the Charlotte Hornets name.
“Just the energy and the excitement in Charlotte about the eventual name change back to the Hornets has really brought our fans out,” Whitfield said.
Last week a team official told the Sporting News sales of new season ticket packages are up 59 percent compared to a year ago. Season ticket renewals are up 11 percent.
“The best part about it is a lot of these season tickets are two year plans where people want to be with us for the last year of the Bobcats and the first year of the Hornets."
Sports marketing expert Mike Boykin said the name change is a smart move.
“I think it was a good move by Michael [Jordan] and the team to move back to the Hornets,” Boykin said.
He said many fans will buy season tickets out of a sense of Hornets nostalgia.
“I lived here during the glory days of the Hornets and I think a lot of us are hoping those days return,” Boykin said.
Whitfield said corporate sponsorships are up, as more companies climb on board the team's re-branding campaign.
“It’s really a community asset,” Whitfield said. “Our community is excited to get back."
Keeping that excitement will require wins on the court, and Whitfield says fans can expect a better team when the regular season tips off at the end of October.