“The future of sportscasting may not look exactly like that, but it will look more like [Sunday] night than what’s been broadcast in the past,” predicted Johnson, whose team website puts interactive links front and center to a greater extent than most. “People’s expectations are changing. Social networking has become the tool for instant communication with your friends, and fans want that same connection with their teams.”
And if Sunday’s numbers are any indication, they want it this very second, if not sooner. The game with the Thunder wasn’t on the team’s original TV schedule, and the Wolves didn’t announce their plans — they had to line up a sponsor, Verizon Wireless, for a commercial-free telecast in order to make room for all the extra features — until three days before the broadcast.
Yet despite competing with the U.S.-Canada Olympic hockey game, the Wolves reached their average TV audience, tripled their normal website traffic and amassed nearly 2,500 online comments, text messages and tweets.
“He’s feeling good,” Wolves coach Kurt Rambis said. “He’s looking good.”
While most of the Wolves players bolted for the bus after practice ended, Jonny Flynn and Al Jefferson — a minus-37 on Sunday, only 72 points away from Milicic’s plus-35 — stayed late for a little work. Jefferson was out on the court talking for several minutes with Rambis and assistant coach Dave Wohl.
“I like being a small guy. You can blend in with everybody. You’re not 7 foot. Everybody doesn’t know who you are. … The only time height matters is if it’s a half-court game.”
He returned in time for morning shootaround but was not used in the Wolves’ 109-107 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Minneapolis, remaining on the inactive list.
Coach Kurt Rambis called Jawai’s six-point, three-rebound average in two games with the Skyforce against the Dakota Wizards “less than stellar”.
To boost attendance next year, the Timberwolves in March are cutting season ticket prices in half for 2010-11.
David Kahn, the NBA team’s president of basketball operations, told fans in a letter that the team is facing a “proverbial chicken-and-egg problem”: The Timberwolves need big Target Center crowds to win, but it needs to start winning to attract the crowds. This season, the team’s record is 13 wins and 44 losses, the second-worst in the NBA.
President of basketball operations David Kahn also wrote a letter to fans, seeking their support. The team printed it as part of a full-page ad on the back of the sports section in Monday’s Star Tribune newspaper.