Sellout Streak In Jeopardy?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Ask anyone that’s covered NBA games for a living to name the three best home court atmospheres and the Rose Garden in Portland is sure to make their short list.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the regular season or a playoff game. Folks in Portland love their Trail Blazers (and sports teams in general). So you can imagine the immediate reaction I had when I saw this ditty from the Oregonian‘s John Canzano questioning whether or not the Trail Blazers’ 166-game sellout streak might be in jeopardy when they return from their current six-game road trip for back-to-back games against the Kings (Jan. 23) and Hang Time Grizzlies (Jan. 24):

… insiders at One Center Court tell me that there’s some minor angst internally about the streak surviving those back-to-back games against chronic lower-tier opponents.

“You have no idea how difficult it is to pull off a sellout,” one high-ranking Blazers official told me. “It’s a siege to pull off a single sellout.”

Team president Larry Miller said he’s looked at those two games and feels, “we have a pretty good shot at a sellout, but it’s not easy.” And the Blazers are hoping a productive road trip and some smart marketing will move Blazers fans to buy tickets and keep the streak alive.

“You definitely have to look at certain games and try to figure out how to position them and market them,” Miller said. “But I think the community feels connected to the players and views the arena as the place to be on a game night.”

As much as I’d hate to see the streak come to an end, the realities of what’s going on around the country right now economically are staring us all in the face. Sitting in Philips Arena Monday afternoon — on a holiday — and seeing thousands of empty seats brings home the bottom-line impact this recession is having on the game.

Miller is right, it’s not easy … even in a hoops hotbed like Portland (or anywhere else right now).

But if I had to break the piggy bank here at the hideout and put some money on any one fan base rising up and making sure their sellout streak continues, I’m going with the folks in Rip City!

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4 Comments

  1. Awwwww how cute says:

    The Portland Trailblazers and their fans are so FREAKIN CUTE!

    • Ryan Lucas says:

      First off let me start by applauding your sarcasm. The Blazers Franchise may exist in a small market, but the players perform night in and night out for two reason’s. The first is the electricity that you feel surrounding the atmosphere of the Rose Garden, and the second is the heart of the fans for the game we call basketball. they may exist in a small Franchise, but big name players come here because they have heart for the game, and they know their fans do too.

  2. jsmooooove says:

    trailblazers…cute little team

    • JLewie says:

      Yeah, we’re in a small market, but the Rosegarden is THE loudest arena in the NBA and I daresay a much more exciting atmosphere at game time than whatever franchise you support.