CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) — The Charlotte Hornets are the hottest ticket in town and more and more fans are flocking to the Spectrum Center this season to see LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges and company perform.
This has a significant ripple effect on the downtown economy.
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Two reasons explain this increase in attendance:
- First, the Hornets are a top-flight, high-scoring team this season
- Second, the attendance restriction at the start of the pandemic has been lifted.
“I have to get into this building, I’m pumped!” Buzz buzz baby, buzz buzz! said Charlotte Hornets fan Will Hennessy.
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The fans are excited and it shows in the average game attendance this year.
This season alone, the Hornets are averaging 16,795 fans per home game, and the Spectrum Center has seen 369,500 total fans this season.
Last season during the restrictions, the Hornets averaged 2,297 fans per game and saw 13,787 fans all season.
Downtown businesses say increased footfall means increased revenue for their bottom line.
“It’s electric. I mean absolutely like you see LaMelo Ball throwing that ball down the field for Miles Bridges to throw it,” Hennessy said.
The attendance boom benefits local businesses like Rooster’s.
“That plays a major role, it’s a huge boost in business every time the Hornets have a home game, we have a full house. We have a great bar crowd, our tables are all you know mostly booked every game, so it’s great for business,” said Leigh Wylie, Managing Director and Managing Partner of Rooster’s Wood-fired Kitchen.
“So all the businesses along the light rail will be affected by the Hornets playing, people will go drink or eat or something and then jump on the train,” Hennessy said.
Charlotte Center City Partners says the Hornets’ strong season and the hospitality industry are really holding the downtown economy together.
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“You can have a few nights a week where you get that flurry. It is such a big help for our hotels, restaurants and bars. It’s extraordinary. We are very lucky to have the Hornets in Charlotte,” said Michael Smith, President and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners.
Hennessy tells WBTV that when the team does good, it just encourages him to enjoy a night on the town.
“If I’m like pumped up, LaMelo hits like a game winning three or something. I’m leaving here, I’m running to… I’m running to Rooster’s, I’m going to have a drink. I go to Graham Street or wherever I go for a drink. I celebrate with the people I came with,” Hennessy said.
Fans and businesses are hoping the excitement continues to build at the Spectrum Center and the team makes it to the playoffs.
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