Friday, November 27, 2009

Cason's Commentary #3

For those of you wondering about our usual commentary from Brittney Cason about what's happening at Time Warner Cable Arena during Bobcat games, well we do have this commentary in which she posted from last week, and here is her latest entry from Bobcats Break.

As a nightlife writer for Charlotte’s most prominent weekly paper, I have come to the conclusion that Time Warner Cable Arena is the biggest bar in Charlotte. Granted, it’s a sporting complex and family friendly environment… but it has several bars within it that when combined, equates to being the biggest and best bar in Charlotte (Bar Bobcats). In addition to the many watering holes located all around the arena, there’s Back Court… a bar located behind the players tunnel on the floor level, Front Court… a bar located on the Founders level for club seat holders and those lucky enough to score a VIP pass, and Rock the Roof Top… a bar open to everyone and located on the 200 level outside section 217.

But the cocktails at the concession stands have very little to do with the overall appeal of the arena. The music they play is better than that of any club’s DJ or bar’s jukebox. I always find it hard to remain seated; I want to rush the court and dance with the Lady Cats. There’s even cool sound effects – especially when the Bobcats dunk the ball. It makes you feel like you’re in a video game. I found myself reaching for the B button to slam dunk… SWOOSH! But it’s not just a party, it’s a show … oh, and a game.

At the last party-show-game against the Portland Trailblazers, the Bobcats brass arranged for recording artist Mike Phillips to perform the National Anthem with his saxophone. He held a key for so long I thought he was going to pass out. I was applauding and cheering along with the rest of the arena. At halftime, he was back and performed for the arena along with a band.

I spent most of my night in Rock the Rooftop, which was… rockin’! I had lower level tickets, and I still opted to go to the 200 level because there’s not a bad seat in the house. Granted, I am a midget (or vertically challenged if you want to be PC about it), but the Bobcats are giants, thus from up high they look normal sized.

Across from the rooftop bar is a mini basketball court where kids can play full-on mini games of basketball. I wanted to play and was actually tempted to stand in line with the kids, but then realized that not only would I most likely be dominated by a 10-year-old, but that I would probably weird out the kids and their parents.

As for the game… it was a close one, which resulted in a very dramatic finish. When a fourth quarter battle for the ball escalated into a bit of a frenzy between the players, the savvy Bobcats production team started playing “Why can’t we be friends?” I admire how the Bobcats promote peace. But the highlight was when Greg Oden from the Trailblazers fouled out. I was singing “Hit the road Jack” with the rest of the arena.

Even though the Bobcats lost, they played hard… and the crowd still had a great time.

The next home game is Sunday, Nov. 22 (which is SpongeBob Square Pants night at the arena). Now I know it’s for the kids, but don’t pretend like you’re not excited too. Because I know I am.

"The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of Brittney Cason and do not necessarily reflect those of the Charlotte Bobcats, its staff, management, or ownership."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cason's Commentary: Checking Out the Scene

We have got another installment of "Cason's Commentary" from Brittney Cason over at Bobcats Break, and in this edition, she talks about the atmosphere at a Bobcats game. And as always, "The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of Brittney Cason and do not necessarily reflect those of the Charlotte Bobcats, its staff, management, or ownership."

I remember my first Bobcats game. It was both mine and the Bobcats first year in Charlotte – and it was my first NBA game… ever. I was scheduled to work my part-time gig at the time, but my friend invited me to the game with the lure of really good seats and promise of nachos. So, I faked a sickness and utilized a sick day I’d been hording to go to the game. And considering from that point on, I have coined going to the games as my “favorite thing to do in Charlotte,” I feel as though I had just cause.

The games are a good time from the very beginning. For starters, the Bobcats have quite a dramatic introduction (I only wish people got that excited whenever I entered into a room). The lights in the whole arena go dark, the music and the tone in the announcer’s voice intensify and a cinematic video highlight reel begins. But this not your typical video introduction featuring a mish mash of highlights or fire balls shooting unnecessarily across the screen. The Bobcats introduction video can only be described as epic – a mini movie that pumps excitement into the air and sets the scene for the entire night.
With that said, let me also point out the game starts at 7 p.m., not 7:30. So if you want to see for yourself what a great moment the introductions are (and believe me, they live up to the hype)… you should plan to arrive on time.

On this night, one of the timeout promotions was the “hug it out” cam. During this game, they zoomed in on some couples, pairs of pals, and some Storm Troopers (present for a Star Wars promotion) who had to give each other a hug on camera… and guess what, I got busted too. There I was on the jumbotron, staring at the jumbotron. And I think I spent most of the second quarter of the game responding to texts from friends scattered throughout the arena who saw me.

Halftime goes really fast in basketball, too fast for my liking. I hadn’t even made it up to Front Court (bar/restaurant inside the arena) before the game started again, and I was having so much fun I didn’t want to return to my seats. In fact, I never did return to my seats as I made my rounds around the arena. Because the arena is like a playground; every section has its own form of entertainment. There’s even an actual playground for little kids in the upper level. My friends had to caution me that I was too big for the activities.

Last call in the arena is the third quarter, but not at Front Court on the Founders level that hosts the arena’s postgame party on weekend games – and considering we’ve won every home game thus far, there is a purpose to party. Front Court has become a bit of a Charlotte scene – and there were a lot of people seen on it. Check out my photo gallery and see if you were seen on the scene.

Brittney's gallery can be viewed HERE.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cason's Commentary: Let the fun begin

As you recall last year, we invited Brittney Cason, one of Charlotte's most talked about writers to become a part of the BobcatZone team. This season, she's writing for our partners over at Bobcats Break and she'll also do some contributions to this blog as well. In this first installment of "Cason's Commentary", she talked about the experience of being at a Bobcats game, and as always, "The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of Brittney Cason, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Charlotte Bobcats, its staff, management, or ownership."

I love basketball season… not necessarily because I am an avid basketball fan, but because I just really like going to the arena. It’s a show, a sporting event and party all under one roof; an arena of entertainment. And lucky for me (and Charlotte), last Friday was the season home opener against the Knicks.I got to the arena just in time to hear Anthony Hamilton sing the national anthem – and to show my hat head off to the people seated in my section. Once I sat down I didn’t want to get back up. There are so many attractions during the games with the action on the court, on Bobcats TV and in the stands. Before I knew it, it was halftime and BREAKSK8 from MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew were breaking, and breaking it down on the court … on roller-skates.

Meanwhile, Michael Jordan was sitting on the player’s bench and there were some points where I thought he was going to jump up and start playing!

For the second half I went on my own arena exploration. I hit the Back Court, Rock the Rooftop, the and Front Court (all social hang outs with bars and great atmosphere). Because it’s not just about the game, it’s also about the gathering… with a side of arena food and giant beers. Each area has a different vibe – Rock the Rooftop is more like a tavern, while Front Court on the Founder’s level is more like an upscale lounge & restaurant with a full bar, dinner buffet, and DJ (who’s there on all Friday and Saturday night games).

Now, back to game . There’s so much free stuff to win… like t-shirts. Lots and lots of t-shirts. They gave out t-shirts to fans upon entering the arena, meanwhile the Lady Cats threw shirts out during time outs, with Bruce Springsteen tickets in them. And don’t think the people in the upper level get left out; Rufus and the Cats Crew fire up t-shirts with sling shots and t-shirt cannons. The Lady Cats were also giving away three-pound pretzels known as the Victory Knot. My friends were jumping up and down along with all the little kids in the arena trying to win one because they bet me I couldn’t eat one by myself. I agreed to their bet in attempt to hang tough, but luckily they didn’t actually win the monstrosity of a pretzel so I didn’t have to undergo an attack of carbohydrates.

When the game did eventually end, I stalled exiting the arena. Not just to watch the Rhythm Cats playing by the exit, but for the post game party at the Front Court Bar. Games are typically over at 9 – 9:30 p.m., which is a weird time in nightlife where its too early to go out to a bar, but too late to go home and come back out. So the Bobcats alleviate that problem and occupy you in the interim as Front Court is after the game.

All in all, the Bobcats won their season opener (in exciting fashion…double overtime!), but even if they had lost, you could still walk away from the arena feeling like you won … because regardless you’ll have a fun night if you attend the games. Larry Brown orchestrates a good game and the Bobcats orchestrate a good time over all.

I’ll see you at the next party…er, I mean, game.


We will post some of Brittney's commentaries here regularly on this blog as the season progresses as a part of our commitment to give you her opinions of the experience at a Bobcats game.