We passed along the tweets from Dwight Howard last week that he was frustrated with Orlando fans, that he wants them to be louder during the regular season.
It wasn’t a fair criticism. Orlando just build a brand new stadium for the Magic and the fans have sold out 100 plus games. Knocking them came off poorly.
Howard didn’t want to come off that way (he is a guy who wans to be liked). He spoke with the Orlando Sentinel and tried to reassure the people of Orlando that he loves them.
“I want to clear it up. In no shape, form or fashion am I criticizing our fans. My whole statement was when the season’s around, and the playoffs come, it’s a different atmosphere. And if you want to win a championship, we all gotta act as champions. That’s players, coaches, and even our city. The city can win a championship, especially a city like ours. We need to come together, and not just for a couple games and the playoffs. If we’re together all season, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can win a championship. I will know that I have my city behind me.”
There’s more of Howard trying to spin his comments at the Sentinel. I don’t think at any point Howard was trying to belittle Orlando fans, he’s not a mean spirited guy like that. He just likes the playoff atmosphere better. We all do.
If Howard leaves Orlando, it will not be because of the fans or the building. It will be about rings and if he thinks he can win them there, nothing else. The fans will not see it that way, but they are certainly in Howard’s “reasons to stay” column.
Come on Orlando Magic ticket holders — when they start pumping in the “every-body-clap-your-hands” noise at the Amway Center, Dwight Howard wants you feel it. Really feel it.
On twitter yesterday a Magic fan made a complaint to Howard that fans in 29 other arenas make — the fans close to floor are just there to be seen, not because they are true fans. (Okay, 28 other arenas, nobody wants to be seen in Minnesota.) They’re not loud enough.
It was Howard’s response that was interesting, as caught by Zach McCann at the Orlando Sentinel.
Howard wrote back, “that upsets me cuz I don’t wait till the playoffs to play hard. I give y’all my best everynite. Y becuz some people don’t get a chance to be at everygame. And I want them to always remember the nite they saw me play. So. I play for y’all. I feed off the fans. ESP at home. It’s a different atmosphere in the playoffs at the arena. That same atmosphere should be during the season.”
I’m not questioning Howard’s effort, but he doesn’t really think the players come with the same level of focus and intensity during the regular season that they do during the playoffs, does he? Everybody steps up in the playoffs, fans and players a like.
Still, smooth move Howard. During a lockout I think there is no better move then telling the paying fans that they need to be more into it. Well done sir. The reason Howard makes his sweet salary is the suites and premier-priced seats near the court. All those suites make it a little quieter in the building, but they go for much higher prices than normal seats. Which is really how teams make their money. Then give 57 percent of that to the players.
Preseason games aren’t just for working out kinks on the court.
The Orlando Magic just turned on the lights and christened the new Amway Center a couple nights before, but Thursday night those lights went out. Literally.
The main house lights in the arena dimmed for player introductions — as they do in all buildings — but due to a malfunction the lights didn’t come back up for 25 minutes, delaying the start of the game.
Some players kept warming up and the Magic tried to keep the fans entertained (they even broke out the “kiss cam” early).
The game eventually started Magic went on to beat the Bobcats 86-73.
The Orlando Magic will play in the brand-spankin’-new Amway Arena this season.
If you go to a game there, you will park in the new Geico parking structure — yes, Orlando has secured a sponsorship for their parking garage. Seriously. Sports Business Journal has the story (via TrueHoop’s twitter feed).
The insurance firm signed a five-year deal valued in seven figures annually. In turn, Geico receives naming rights to a seven-level parking garage being built next to the arena and a skywalk connecting the two buildings, said Magic President Alex Martins.
The city of Orlando owns the garage and shares in the revenue, Martins said. He would not disclose the split.
I will never begrudge a team coming up with a creative way to make some extra revenue. But really Dwight Howard should get a piece of this, because if it wasn’t for him leading a competitive Orlando team nobody would come forward to sponsor the parking garage. Heck, they’d have a hard time getting a building sponsor at the price they likely got.
As it always does, the NBA has grand plans — they are going to unveil their opening games and the highlights (such as Christmas Day) on an NBATV special Tuesday night (7pm Eastern, if you want to set your DVR).
But as our own Matt Moore noted at the time, it’s going to be hard for the NBA to keep a lid on the games that always leak out from teams in advance of the announcement.
The first: The Sports Business Journal is reporting the Orlando Magic will open the new Amway Arena in a game against the Miami Heat on Thursday, Oct. 28 in a nationally televised game on TNT. That according to Don Muret of the Sports Business Journal (via the Sporting News).
It makes sense, buildings are usually opened against a rival and a big draw. Right now in Florida, there is no bigger rival, no more sure sell out than Miami. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade vs. Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson. The Amway Center also will host the All-Star Game in 2012.
Expect more leaks over the next day and a half leading up to the big show on NBATV.