If you’re a Raptors season seat holder, you have by now received an email notification about your renewal payment for next season.
While the attendance average of 16,717 is well below the best of times at the Air Canada Centre, it’s still a middle of the pack figure in the NBA, and is still very respectable for a 15-32 team that has just one playoff series victory in 17 years.
I doubt the season seat holder base is as strong as it was when the Raptors led the NBA in season seat renewals a few years ago, but I also don’t think it’s in shambles either. The Raptors lowered prices for this season, and part of the promise to season seat holders last year was that if they renewed for 2011-2012, they would continue to receive that lowered price in 2012-2013, if they were still interested. Though even without the promise, I doubt MLSE could have hiked prices given the state of the team.
What I’m extremely interested in seeing and finding out over the next little while is how the Raptors do in terms of season seat renewals and sales heading into next season. You would imagine that if someone has stuck it out this long, or jumped on board to take advantage of the lower prices this season, they would probably give it at least another year, given the same price and the fact that the Raptors could have two top-five draft picks in their lineup next season.
The real question though, is will anyone from the outside buy into what the Raptors are selling? Here’s a couple of paragraphs from the email to seat holders:
“You have no doubt seen further positive changes this season on the floor. Head Coach Dwane Casey has brought a defence first mentality and his “Pound the Rock” philosophy has made a significant impact to our culture.
With the addition of Jonas Valanciunas in the 2012-13 season, who was recently awarded FIBA European Young Men’s Player of the Year, along with Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan and our group of core talent, it’s not hard to see that our future is bright.” (Note: Bold occurs exactly as it did in the email)
Do I agree that Dwane Casey has started down the unenviable task of changing the culture that surrounds the Raptors? Absolutely, hiring Casey has been one of Bryan Colangelo’s best moves (and it may turn out to be his absolute best) as Raptors GM if you ask me. Am I stoked to see Jonas Valanciunas in a Raptors uniform? Hell, yes. The guy can be the first legitimate long term cornerstone centre this franchise has ever had. Add in a potential top-five pick in what could be the most loaded draft in nearly a decade, and yes, the Raptors definitely have the initial building blocks for future success.
But legitimate success is likely still a long ways away, and the message kind of lost me by including Bargnani, who is far from a known commodity, and DeRozan, who I think can be a solid third or fourth option with some improvement, but again, is far from cementing his place in any franchise’s future. Overall, the future can be bright for this franchise if the right moves are made and the neccessary patience is exhibited. But do you think the front office should be confident enough to bold the fact that “our future is bright”?
If the answer is yes, then the Raptors should see their season seat holder base grow and strengthen once again over the next year or so.
I just hope that if fans in the GTA answer with a resounding “no,” Bryan Colangelo doesn’t respond by altering his plans in an effort to immediately please casual fans with a perennially mediocre team. Remember, Colangelo will be in a contract year himself next season (there is a third year option for 2013-2014).
On top of being interested in seeing how season seat holders and fans buy into this team and its’ future, I think I speak for everyone when I say I’m most intrigued by what Colangelo and co. attempt to build for next season. Because as I’ve stated before, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for this team to be in playoff contention at this time next year without even having to hinder the future plans.
I’ll be away for a few days, but Mr. Blog Father himself, Scott Carefoot, will have his recap/thoughts on the game for the Knicks game on Friday and the Magic game on Monday, and I’m sure he’ll have you covered should anything major go down.
We’ll talk next week.