Johnson mulls options going into new arena

Updated: February 22, 2005, 10:19 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte Bobcats owner Bob Johnson is considering a money-back guarantee to some season-ticket holders if they are not satisfied with the expansion team next season.

Johnson, speaking before the Bobcats' game against Milwaukee on Tuesday, said he would likely offer the guarantee to "non-premium" ticket holders in Charlotte's new arena. The arena is set to open next fall, and ticket prices will rise.

The Bobcats are confident the new building will create a buzz in Charlotte that will boost both team attendance and the entertainment district around it.

"I think the arena is really going to be the watershed event that will awaken the deep fan/sponsor support that we expect every year," Johnson said. "We may say, 'Come in, sample our product, and if you don't like it, we may refund your deposit.

"That's how confident I am in the fact that we have put together ticket pricing that can reach the people who are working families. You say, 'Take the car, drive it around.' This is the same thing, come in and go to a number of games and if you say, 'Gee, Bob, it's not there.' We'll figure out a way to refund some of the money."

Johnson is also hopeful the new arena will jump-start his fledgling digital cable network, C-Set, which airs most of the Bobcats' games. Many viewers across the Carolinas do not subscribe to digital cable, and are not able to watch the majority of the games.

He admitted Tuesday night that he needs to make his games more accessible in order to increase the expansion team's fan base.

"It would be beneficial to us if we had more of our games on basic," he said. "We can look for ways to increase the number of over-the-air games that are available, and we'll be talking to the guys at Time Warner about that."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press