SMG venues across the country played host to several NBA pre-season games. Fans in Baltimore, Canton, Jacksonville, Manchester, Providence, Tulsa and Wichita got a sneak peek at the 2013-2014 NBA teams. SMG’s Executive Vice President of Stadiums & Arenas, Doug Thornton said “we are excited to be a part of the NBA pre-season bringing professional basketball to our SMG venues around the country.”
The Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Pelicans, NY Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards all had an opportunity show off their skills to fans in a variety of cities. These pre-season games have been a boon for arenas and secondary markets that seldom have the opportunity to host NBA games.
In many cities these games were a homecoming for several players. In Baltimore the game featured two of the city’s most distinguished former high school players in Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell. Providence saw the return of MarShon Brooks, the newest Celtic, who set the Big East single season scoring record to highlight a stellar career at Providence College. OKC Thunder forward/center Nick Collison is a University of Kansas graduate. Collison finished his college career as the leading scorer in the history of the Big 12 Conference. In Jacksonville SMG partnered with the City to honor Artis Gilmore, a Jacksonville University Legend and NBA Hall of Famer.
SMG has had some great success stories with the NBA pre-season games. In 2012, in Wichita, the game went down in the history books as the highest attended event in INTRUST Bank Arena history, reaching its max capacity of 15,004. In Baltimore, the Washington Wizards vs. NY Knicks played to a sold out crowd of 12,376. Also, the game in Canton this month was a sell out and marked the second straight year the Cavaliers sold out the Civic Center.
“SMG is proud to team up the NBA and give our venues and fans a chance to be a part of all the excitement,” said Thornton. “It is a great relationship that we will continue to grow.”