We have a new group sales operation in place and we’re looking for dramatic results there.
—Steve Patterson, President, Portland Trail Blazers
Less than a month after the 2005 NBA All-Star break, the Portland Trail Blazers were in upheaval. On the court, they had just fired their coach of the past four seasons and were 22–36, in danger of one of the worst seasons in franchise history. Off the court, the Blazers organization was facing considerable challenges as well. The team’s home arena, the Rose Garden, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was being run by the building’s creditors.
The arena, a virtual lock to sell out just three seasons before, had seen attendance numbers fall more than 15% since ...