Bobcats Slash Season Tickets

The owner of North Carolina’s Charlotte Bobcats is doing something unusual for the NBA team’s upcoming season: He’s lowering the cost of most season tickets at the 19,000-seat arena and adding more perks.

Robert Johnson of Bobcats Sports & Entertainment said the decision was made in an effort to boost attendance and build a larger base of return customers. The Bobcats currently rank 20th out of 30 NBA teams in attendance

“To some extent we overshot the runway on pricing,” Johnson said. “We went into it hoping we could hit the right number in terms of pricing and value. But it’s like anything else … you get a gut check from the marketplace, and the marketplace came back and said ‘We like what you’re doing … but we think the price is something you ought to reconsider.'”

About 9,000 season tickets were sold for the Bobcats’ debut season at the aging Charlotte Coliseum. Ticket prices went up when the team moved to its new $265 million digs, so the higher costs and lower season ticket sales led team officials to rethink their options.

Prices for the 2006 season will drop about 38 percent in the upper level of Charlotte Bobcats Arena and 14 percent overall. In addition, season ticket holders have a chance at shooting hoops in the Bobcats’ training center, access to cash rebates and prizes for new sales referrals and an exchange program for unused tickets.

“When you sit back and look at what we’ve done, our goal is to get as many fans in the arena as possible,” Johnson said. “So we are restructuring our prices to motivate that result. This is something that is going to be ongoing.”