Pete Guelli, the Bobcats’ executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, shared some specifics with Sporting News on Friday. Most notably, new ticket sales are up 59 percent from last year. “What’s really encouraging about that is the vast majority of those people have taken advantage of the two-year season ticket program,” Guelli said.
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The Bobcats’ team shop has benefited from the name change, too, even as old merchandise is being liquidated, thanks to some smart marketing. The new Hornets uniforms, logos and other gear have not been unveiled, but the team created two sub-brands—”Back the Buzz” and “Buzz City”—using familiar colors to begin building interest. The “Back the Buzz” gear is so popular it had a 100 percent sell-through rate and has the team chasing additional inventory. “A slow window turned into a hot sales opportunity,” Guelli said. “The sales in our team stores have doubled this summer from where they were last year.”
With a Charlotte Bobcats-Miami Heat exhibition nearing a sellout in Raleigh Tuesday, Bobcats management says it could eventually play a regular-season NBA game in the Triangle. This would be part of an expanded effort at marketing the Bobcats throughout the Carolinas. “Down the line we wouldn’t rule out a regular-season contest in an alternate market,” chief marketing officer Pete Guelli told the Charlotte Observer Thursday. “If we see the response as the team starts to improve, if that’s really going to help us from a marketing perspective, that’s something we’d consider.”