The Harlem Globetrotters’ 2008 Magic As Ever Tour broke North American records with a nearly 5 percent increase in gross tour revenue, set all-time levels for merchandise sales, hit television ratings highs and exponentially increased online traffic, re-establishing the Globetrotters as a worldwide entertainment powerhouse. The Globetrotters’ storied arch rivals, the Washington Generals, returned after a 12-year hiatus to compete in an exciting new show.
The 241-game tour attracted close to 2 million people in 203 cities in 45 states, Washington, D.C. and four Canadian provinces. They set records for gross ticket sales at New York’s Madison Square Garden and in several other venues in major cities, including Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Orlando and Charlotte.
The Globetrotters burst back onto the national and network television scene after a 14-year absence with “Harlem Globetrotters: A New Generation,” an hour-long, prime time special that became the highest rated program in MyNetworkTV history and re-aired in two encore presentations with a cumulative rating of 3.8 for the three broadcasts.
After launching a new, robust website in October, traffic increased to 122.2 percent, to nearly 3 million page views per month. Merchandise sales of the Globetrotters’ 60-plus products online and in arenas boasted record domestic per caps of $6.61 per game.
“We are extremely thrilled about this watershed year,” said Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider in a statement. “This iconic brand has been re-energized and is poised to assert itself as a dominant form of family entertainment worldwide for years to come.”