Wow, this is disappointing…

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No, not the Bobcats third straight loss to open the preseason, the speculation that our first Larry Brown-induced trade may be coming soon, or the possibility that this is the beginning of the end for Adam Morrison. Those are all plenty disappointing; but what I’m really referring to is this:

That’s how my season tickets came today. Left resting on my doorstep was a crinkly medium-sized white envelope containing the above crumpled letter, the brochure for a ticket donation program, my Season Ticket Holder ID card, and a stack of plainly printed, ticketmaster-style loose tickets with a couple of rubber bands around them. Hella lame…

You see, I was hoping to be able to post something more like this, a great post from Warriors blog Golden State of Mind detailing the arrival of the blogger’s 2007-08 tickets last year around this time. Looks cool, huh? The tickets are nicely printed up in little books with decent graphics, the letter is on fancy paper (and not wrinkled up) and they even included a chintzy promotional bag. I suppose that’s how a proper franchise does things.

But not the Bobcats. I suppose I shouldn’t really be surprised — this is the franchise that just recently let about 35 employees go and considered dropping radio broadcasts as a way to save money. And don’t get me started on owner Bob Johnson’s trip to Charlotte earlier this year to whine to the papers and local businesses that they weren’t doing enough to support his investment. We know now that Wachovia and Bank of America had bigger things to worry about than bailing out the Bobcats.

In fairness, here’s a portion of the text of the letter, which you may or may not be able to make out above:

“…the company that we had been using to print our season ticket books went out of business after a union strike left them unable to keep their plant open and operating. The search for a new company to handle our order on short notice did not yield a solution that would have delivered your season tickets to you in time for Opening Night, and concluding that getting these tickets in your hands in a timely fashion was priority number one, we opted to print them ourselves. We hope you understand our decision was based on timing and a sense of urgency to deliver your tickets to you, and appreciate any feedback you may have on the circumstances that led to this decision.”

Well, consider this my feedback. These tickets are bush-league. As for the sob story about the printer? As if there’s only one, or even just a few companies that can do this kind of print job. There must be plenty, and when the ability of the preferred one to do the job came into question, it shouldn’t have been too hard to take the business elsewhere. Maybe there would have been a slight premium to do a rush job, but even that isn’t a great excuse — this should have been dealt with well in advance of “Opening Night”.

What I really wonder about is whether the muckety-mucks just saw a great opportunity to shave a chunk of change off the bottom line by printing the tickets in-house. That seems pretty consistent with the ways of the Bobcats front office, dontcha think?

-E

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11 Responses to “Wow, this is disappointing…”

  1. mike15
    October 14, 2008 at 11:37 pm #

    The Cats MUST do a lot of things to make up for dropping the ball on the ticket book. As a graphic designer, I can tell you that coordinating one of these jobs isn't all THAT difficult. Especially, since they had the art and layouts of the last season's book from which to begin. They should have had 3 printers available for this.

    This is a huge element to miss out on when you've contributed a lot of money to an organization. This should have been project #1 for the organization during the off season.

    Well, David's right – at least folks will get their tickets in time for the games.

  2. mike15
    October 15, 2008 at 3:15 am #

    The Cats are passing the blame off to the company they hired to do the job – Mercury Graphics (the Sam Vincent of printers).

    More about what other NBA teams using Mercury (like the Bulls) did about it here:
    http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/6030

    Looks like the Celtics had a similar letter go out for the preseason tix, but not for their regular season games:

    "Dear Loyal Season Ticket Holders:

    Mercury Graphics, the printer of season ticket books for the Boston Celtics organization during the past 13 years, would like to extend a sincere apology to the Celtics and their loyal season ticket holders for being late in delivering your season ticket books for the upcoming NBA season. Mercury accepts full responsibility for this unfortunate situation.

    The reason for Mercury's delay is a strike action by our unionized labor force. This ill-timed work stoppage negatively impacted our ability to effectively service our loyal clients including the Celtics. Mercury is taking all reasonable steps to end the labor dispute while doing everything possible to successfully service the Celtics.

    As it stands now, the Celtics Sales Office will be fulfilling tickets for the two home preseason games via Ticketmaster Account Manager and Mercury will be printing the remaining tickets in ticket books, with a scheduled arrival to all Season Ticket Holders the week of October 19, 2008.

    This situation is certainly not typical of our performance in any way. We have been servicing your ticket needs and those of numerous other NBA & professional sports organizations for many years with excellent results. We appreciate the patience and understanding the Boston Celtics and their season ticket holders have demonstrated as Mercury navigates through this unfortunate situation.

    Mercury wishes the Celtics another championship season on and off the parquet floor, and we look forward to continuing a mutually beneficial business relationship with the Celtics organization for years to come.

    Sincerely,

    Mark LaCoste

    Vice President of Sales & Marketing

    Mercury Graphics "

    http://www.nba.com/celtics/account_manager/mercur

  3. mike15
    October 15, 2008 at 4:10 am #

    Man, I'm sorry to see such a disappointing turn for the Bobcats. That's certainly a bad move for the franchise. Season Ticket Holder loyalty is a huge part of running a franchise and slacking on a point of contact like this is a major mistake.

    I'm surprised that they tried to swing this with an envelope and a stack of tickets.

    Bobcats really look broke.

  4. David Arnott
    October 15, 2008 at 4:24 am #

    I got mine this way, too, and, really, I don't blame them. Sending people their tickets too late to distribute to co-holders is absolutely not an option, and I suspect arranging this kind of printing job takes longer than a couple weeks.

  5. Deesdale
    October 15, 2008 at 8:10 am #

    I was so excited when I got the real-deal book last season. It's a big mistake that they did this; I mean c'mon…I doubt the Checkers would pull something like this. I'm betting that it was planned.

  6. Deesdale
    October 15, 2008 at 1:13 pm #

    I just found this link that seems to shed some light…

    http://www.ninernation.net/forum/showthread.php?t=21481

  7. Jason
    October 16, 2008 at 3:58 pm #

    I'm happy to see Bobcats Baseline recognizing Chris Mullin and the work he does with his premier NBA organization, the Golden State Warriors. The Bobcats would do well to look to Golden State when developing a business plan for their franchise. I'm sure Golden State would extend the lease on their color scheme for the rights to Adam 'Stache' Morrison.

  8. Dr. K
    October 17, 2008 at 12:56 pm #

    only the bobcats would do something like this….

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