The city of New Orleans has plenty to celebrate about after securing the rights to the number one overall pick in next month’s draft, and no one partied harder than the New Orleans Pelicans ticket sales team.
In case you haven’t seen it by now, this video immediately went viral, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve already watched it a dozen times or so.
Since the announcement was made, the phone lines have not stopped ringing. When I spoke to Matt Ryan (Director of Basketball Communications), he told me that the Pelicans have already sold 3,000+ season tickets in less than 24 hours!
Not only that, the team website received such a surplus of interest that it in fact crashed last night. The team remains hard at work as excitement within the city is at an all-time high following what could promise to be the acquisition of a generational talent like Zion Williamson.
The following excerpt was borrowed from the Pelicans website in a conversation with David Griffin:
Q: I know there are multiple prospects you’ll be looking at with the first pick. But specifically speaking about Zion -- he’s somebody who, with his versatility on both ends of the floor, seems to be tailor-made for the league today. I’m just wondering if could you speak on his overall type of skill set in today’s up-tempo position-less league.
Griffin: Yeah, I mean again, I said earlier I don’t want to talk a whole lot of specifics about individual players, but I look at this as a situation where he is a wholly and unique talent. And we feel what we’re going to build is going to be wholly and unique as well. Hopefully all of this sort of comes to a place where we all feel like we’re meant to be together. This is about fit as much as anything else. Certainly the elite talent and the special characteristics are there, but most important to us are special human beings. I think this draft was very deep in that area as well. I think every subsequent generational kid is growing more mindful of the fact that you’ve got to be a total person and this draft has those.
While the Pelicans can’t confirm the future of their selection until the clock strikes zero at the NBA Draft on June 20th, interest in a team equipped with Jrue Holiday and a likely incoming trade package for Anthony Davis — in addition to the 2019 first round draft pick selection — has one of the smallest NBA cities interest levels piqued.
And as far as small markets go, the city of New Orleans already carries significantly more interest than most want to believe:
Here are ESPN and ABC’s top 10 highest-rated local markets for the 2018-19 regular season, according to the NBA:— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 12, 2019
2. Oklahoma City
3. New Orleans
6. San Francisco
10. Los Angeles
A LOT of surprises!
Kyle Zorn, a ticketing guru from secondary ticket marketplace, TickPick, took some time to explain just what a player of Zion’s magnitude could mean to Pelicans future ticket sales as well as their downtown area.
1) The Pelicans’ ticket staff went ballistic after winning the rights to Zion Williamson last night. 50 employees worked the phone lines until late in the evening. What kind of ticket surge can fans expect?
Right now, there is high demand for season tickets with the Pelicans unexpectedly getting the first overall pick. Zion is a generational talent, so there is going to be an initial surge now that they will be drafting Zion with the first pick. How long this surge depends on what they do with Anthony Davis - will they convince him to stay or trade him for additional assets to build around Zion?
2) What will this do to ticket prices throughout the arena?
Historically drafting the #1 overall pick hasn’t always resulted in a spike in the average purchase price when comparing the regular season year over year. However, Zion could change that trend this year with how much hype there is around him - very similar to the hype when LeBron came into the league. We believe there will be an initial spike for the Pelicans first few home games and at away games in major markets, but could stabilize if the Pelicans aren’t competitive (Anthony Davis will play a big part in how competitive they are).
3) Can Pelicans’ fans who travel expect difficulty acquiring tickets in neighboring venues like Atlanta, Orlando and Charlotte? How big of a draw do you expect Zion to be outside of New Orleans?
In major markets, especially when the Pelicans play the Lakers and LeBron, there will be high demand to see Zion play. For fans looking to see Zion play in surrounding markets, such as Orlando and Atlanta, they should expect prices to be around 25 to 30 percent higher compared to that teams normal home game average.
4) What does Zion Williamson do for the local economy? With an influx of ticket sales comes the need for everything from traffic police to parking attendants to service industry personnel. Will Zion’s reach affect the downtown economy in a historic way?
Absolutely. There was a study done by a Harvard professor, Daniel Shoag, that proved there was a measurable, positive effect on the local economy surrounding the stadium when LeBron was in the lineup; Businesses, such as the local bars/restaurants nearby, saw an increase in sales and there were more jobs available. Zion has the potential to have a very similar effect on the economy that LeBron had when he was in Cleveland and Miami.
5) How would you rate Zion among the NBA’s-elite in terms of draw?
In terms of highest demand, LeBron & the current Warriors roster are at the top. We expect Zion to be slightly below that group initially when he comes into the league in terms of demand.
All good news for a fanbase desperate for some kind of normalcy following Anthony Davis’ trade demand. The city wrapped their collective arms around a bunch of try-hards in the Jrue-Krewe. Now, they get to potentially add the most hyped player since Anthony Davis entered the league to that group.
Can you see why New Orleans ticket sales team is hyped?!
Let’s geaux, Pels!