I got nostalgic when scrolling through Twitter last Friday when I saw a post about an event that happened seven years ago in 2013. The Memphis Grizzlies had been named the #1 Franchise in all of sports by ESPN The Magazine as they were coming off of their deepest playoff run in franchise history. It was the best of times for the small market of Memphis.
On this day 7 years ago. https://t.co/wsG3VB7PVL— Grizzlies History (@Grizzstory) September 18, 2020
I still have the ESPN The Magazine in my keepsake box to this day. I remember running into the book store to snag two copies of the magazine because the Memphis Grizzlies had hit a milestone as a franchise that many (outside of Memphis) would’ve never thought was possible.
Cam Newton sat on the cover of “The Franchise Issue,” of ESPN The Magazine, but Newton wasn’t the reason I ran so fast to snag the Franchise copy back in September of 2013. Instead it was because of what sat next to Cam Newton on that particular cover. “#1 The Memphis Grizzlies Are the Best Franchise In Sports,”, right there on the front cover of ESPN The Magazine. Inside? A detailed article about new owner Robert Pera, and his relationship with Grizzlies swingman Mike Miller, and how that relationship became the reason he had returned to the 901 during free agency in 2013.
Coming off of their first Western Conference Finals appearance, the Grizzlies looked like a franchise on the rise, with solid ticket prices to boot. The Grizzlies average ticket price during the 2012-13 season averaged $29.49 — the second cheapest NBA ticket in the league that year.
Throw in the likability of the “Core Four” as they bonded with the city of Memphis, and the price was well worth the admission. Blue collar guys like Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley all wore a chip on their shoulders to bring this city and organization success. The Core Four did bring success to Memphis, and being able to sell tickets at an affordable price made things all the better for the city and its fans.
Following without a doubt the most successful time in Memphis Grizzlies franchise history, a new core is building with a new front office, with the same morals on how to keep fan engagement. While a lot has changed in the 901, a lot has also remained the same.
FedExForum came back as the 29th cheapest in the NBA, with just the Charlotte Hornets being cheaper. According to GoBanking, two tickets will cost you around $68.00 with parking costing approximately $18.00. If you were to eat and drink in the arena, two beers will run you $17.00, and two hotdogs $11.50. In total, a game for two could cost you just $57.25 a person.
That is approximately the price to watch a Rookie of the Year point guard in Ja Morant that could take flight at any second and a second year Unicorn in Jaren Jackson Jr. A new core is forming, and is already competitive as the Memphis Grizzlies only missed the NBA Playoffs this season by two games. With COVID-19 still making it’s run around the world, who knows when we will make it back in FedExForum. One thing is clear, though, the Grizzlies remain an affordable and entertaining option for fans of all ages.
It helps this new core of players is extremely likable. You have a 6’11 forward who plays like a Unicorn and has a smile that rubs off on everyone. Then you have a point guard, who showed that he will not back down from anyone, or any moment that presents itself. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. easily check off all of the boxes in the “likable” category, while still relating to the city of Memphis similar to the ways of Tony Allen and Zach Randolph.
The Grizzlies organization will be back in the top tier of sports organizations sooner rather than later with their young core, success and affordable prices. The future is bright in the 901.