FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Fort Wayne Mad Ants open the 2014-2015 season Saturday night. This year the team will open the season with the name defending champs, and that title appears to have given the ‘Ants an increase in ticket sales.
A spokesperson at the ‘Ants office said season ticket sales have increased, and Saturday’s season opener with Sioux Falls is nearing a sellout.
Team president Jeff Potter said the team’s coming off its best financial season ever. However, sales for the 2014-2015 season look to be even better.
“We’re up in almost every [ticket] category, which is good for us,” Potter told NewsChannel 15. “We’re hitting year eight and that’s how we mark things, we’re just doing a slow growth and try to get better every year.”
While Potter did not give specifics to last season’s improvement in ticket sales, league’s front office said in May that attendance was up more than five percent (league-wide) compared to the 2012-2013 season. More than a million fans attended a NBDL game for the fifth straight year.
Potter also said his team and other franchises in the NBDL getting stronger, and the entire league is growing as a whole. He pointed to the NBA’s contract with ESPN that was renewed last month as an example. The contract calls for at least 20 NBA Development League games to air on ESPN television networks beginning in the 2016-2017 season.
The Mad Ants will tip-off with Sioux Falls at 7:30 Saturday night. Before the game, the team will honor last year’s championship team, which includes players, coaches, staff, sponsors, and others who invested in the team.
“How often do you get to have a championship night,” Potter said. The last time Fort Wayne celebrated a pro basketball championship was in 1945. “We’ve got some videos we want to play for everyone. We also have some speeches for everyone.”
New NBA Development League President Malcolm Turner, who was named to the position last month, will also be in attendance to help the Mad Ants celebrate.