The New Orleans Pelicans secured the rights to the 2019 NBA Draft pick, giving the team the chance to scoop-up college basketball star Zion Williamson earlier this year. Since they were given the first draft pick in May, the team has sold more than 10,000 season tickets.
The heightened interest has a lot to do with Williamson, as 2,500 season tickets were sold within hours of securing the first pick. Following the draft, the team hit 10,000 season tickets, and Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha hopes that they can sell 14,000 by tonight’s season opening game.
Williamson might be able to save the team, as the Pelicans have seen a decline in attendance figures, finishing in 25th out of the 30 NBA franchises last campaign, SportsPro reports. The Pelicans’ home at the Smoothie King Center has a capacity of 17,791, yet only saw about 16,004 fans at games last season, taking the 20th spot in attendance. Additionally, the team’s merchandise has been selling well since signing Williamson; Fanatics reported that the team sold more Nike Jerseys and T-shirts than all the first-round picks in the 2018 NBA Draft combined.
The Pelicans finished 13th in the Western Conference last year, losing 49 games. They’re slated to kick-off this season with a game tonight against the New York Knicks. This summer, they’ll take on teams like the Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls, and Atlanta Hawks.