Memphis Grizzlies: A Plan To Sell More Tickets

Adrian VCorrespondent IApril 26, 2009

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 15: Derrick Rose #23 of the Memphis Tigers brings the ball upcourt against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane during the finals of the Conference USA Basketball Tournament at FedExForum on March 15, 2008 in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis beat Tulsa 77-51. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

The Memphis Grizzlies have been near the bottom of the league in tickets sales for the last five years. In fact, they have ever since they moved to Memphis from Vancouver.

On the other hand, the University of Memphis Tigers have been ranked in the top 10 in the entire country in ticket sales the last three years.

What is the difference between the two?

One wins, one loses.

As a life-long Memphian, I see a noticeable pride from the citizens of this city for their Tigers. This city is simply attached to the team.

Everywhere you go, whether that is to the other side of town or even a Grizzlies game, there will be Tigers memorabilia worn by someone. There are not even that many people with Grizzlies related gear at a Grizzlies game itself.

It is obvious.

Fans wants to see winning teams; they do not want to pay money to see a team lose.

Well, maybe there could be a solution that might not help the Grizzlies win games, but could help get some behinds on seats.

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Draft hometown kids, better known as Memphis Tigers.

There is an obvious connection between Tiger fans and their players. It could be because the players are winners, or possibly because of the numerous Memphis Alumni still living in the city.

Ether way, the Memphis fans have made it clear. They love their Tigers.

The Grizzlies sold out or came close to selling out against only three teams, the Lakers, Celtics, and Bulls, in that order.

The first two were obvious sellouts. They were the two teams that met in the Finals last season and they have two of the biggest fanbases in the league.

The Bulls’ sellout is interesting though.

They were not a top team in their conference and at the time, they were not even very close to sniffing a playoff spot.

There was one player that played for the Bulls who got more attention than the others and received a long-standing ovation by the Grizzlies crowd.

The player was Derrick Rose.

Rose was a freshman for the Tigers two seasons ago when he was only one free throw away from bringing the city of Memphis its first ever championship.

As a Tiger fan, I can truthfully say Rose is the most talented player I have ever watched play with a Tigers uniform on, and I can also say I have never seen the city so inspired by sports.

Memphis is not exactly heaven on earth and was not going through the best times as a city, but that team and especially that one player, Rose, brought the entire community together.

During last season’s draft, Chicago offered their first pick for Mike Conley, Jr. at the Grizzlies’ No. 5 spot.

The Grizzlies declined, but looking back at it I would have certainly accepted the offer. Not only is Rose a once in a generation type of talent at point guard, but there would have also been the possibility of more attendance.

I am not saying attendance would jump tremendously, but it is not like having the second to last spot in attendance rankings for the entire league is something that general managers and owners want to see.

In this year’s draft class, there will likely be three Memphis players—Tyreke Evans, Robert Dozier, and Antonio Anderson.

The Grizzlies will have a top six pick at least.

Evans will likely be available at that position, but picking a player that went to Memphis, but does not fit a needy position is not something GM Chris Wallace plans on doing. He has already gotten enough heat as a general manager as it is.

Evans did not make as strong a connection with the fanbase as a player like Rose or Chris Douglas-Roberts.

The Grizzlies will also have the 28th and the 35th pick in the draft. Pick 28 would be too high of a spot for the two Memphis players that would likely remain, but it would certainly be interesting drafting Robert Dozier with the 35th pick.

Dozier is one of the three winningest players in collage basketball history and a player who has played for the Tigers all four years.

Dozier will definably not start and will likely be a role player at best in the NBA, but maybe it could bring some Tiger fans to games.

The Grizzlies fans have never been numerous at their games, while Tiger fans have “overachieved” in terms of attendance.

At this point, the Grizzlies' management and sponsors are desperate for ticket sales.

Who knows?

Maybe a few University of Memphis players could bring a few fans.

It could be a risk GM Chris Wallace could be willing to take in order to fill up the FedEx Forum.

(Please note that this is not an article where I am completely serious. I doubt there will be much of a difference in attendance of this does happen, but I thought it would be an interesting scenario).

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