MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Remember when you thought it would take a warm day in December before the Timberwolves would be relevant again?
Well, it’s been pretty warm and suddenly, there’s a buzz around the Wolves.
In fact, they’re one of the hottest tickets in town after settling their lockout and bringing exciting, new players to training camp.
“Oh man, it’s an exciting, young team,” said Kerry Early of Minneapolis. “A lot of awesome talent and I just wanted to be able to see them up close.”
The Timberwolves held a public scrimmage, a glorified practice, at the Target Center on Monday during the lunch hour and thousands showed up.
“Just to watch the Timberwolves,” said Helen Fagrelius of Sillwater from a front row seat. “We’re really excited for the season.”
And when is the last time Timberwolves fans talked like that?
“Kevin Garnett was here,” said Brent Labathe of Minneapolis. “I’ll put it that way.”
Now, there’s a new group and a new vibe, led by flashy rookie Ricky Rubio, and No. 2 draft pick Derrick Williams. With only a few weeks to sell tickets since the end of the lockout, the Wolves marketing staff has been running a fast break of its own.
“Frankly, to be honest, there hasn’t been a whole lot of time for creativity,” said Timberwolves Chief Marketing Officer Ted Johnson. “We’re just trying to get out there as quickly as we can and let people that there’s exciting basketball here at Target Center.”
They’re up to 8,000 season tickets from a low of 4,000. And for Saturday’s exhibition win against the Milwaukee Bucks, nearly 15,000 were in attendance.
“I know we’re selling a lot more tickets to the upcoming games than we have in a long time,” said Mike Nowakowski of Ticket King.
He sells tickets for all the teams in town and says Minnesota sports fans are simply desperate for a winner after watching the Twins and Vikings struggle. So, in many ways, the Wolves are simply selling hope.
“People want some optimism,” said Nowakowski. “They want a team that they can go to that’s fun to watch, that plays hard and that has a chance of winning.”