The most interesting Wizards development this week? No, it’s not the home loss to a lesser opponent; that happens pretty regularly. And no, it’s not Bradley Beal and John Wall lagging behind in fan voting for the All-Star Game; that’s sadly predictable, too.
The most interesting headline is therefore the one above. Friday night is Old School Hip-Hop Night at Capital One Arena, featuring postgame performances by Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane and Kool Moe Dee, and a lot of happiness among middle-aged people who don’t really think of themselves as middle-aged.
You probably have some questions about this, right?
Why are Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane and Kool Moe Dee performing at a random mid-January Wizards-Magic game?
The Wizards introduced a postgame Friday night concert series last season with four themed nights: an R&B Night, a Go-Go Night, an Old School Hip-Hop Night and a Gospel Night. The team had brought in performers for brief halftime sets in the past, and wondered whether there was an opportunity to create bigger postgame shows that might create a bit of in-game buzz while also rewarding season-ticket holders.
The results? Well, the four concert nights drew an average crowd of 18,780 — about 5 percent bigger than the team’s average crowd last season. Perhaps buoyed by the larger crowds — or by the cheery people in concert attire — the team went 4-0 in those games. (Okay, that was probably a coincidence, but you never know.) And the postgame concert crowds averaged something like 5,000 people, not including the media members who enjoyed listening to Bell Biv DeVoe while crafting their game stories. (Hi, friends.)
It was considered a success, in other words.
Is this worth it for the team financially?
“You’d be surprised,” said Hunter Lochmann, the senior vice president of marketing brand and strategy at Monumental Sports. “The individual sales — the extra revenue versus a normal night, year over year — made it worthwhile enough that we wanted to do it year two.”
So how did they book the year-two acts?
The team reached out both to customers and held internal brainstorming meetings about what sort of acts would make sense, and wound up with the same four themed nights. Go-Go Night already happened, timed with the announcement of the new developmental franchise, the Capital City Go-Go. R&B Night, featuring Carl Thomas, Biz Markie and Alex Jay — will arrive in March, and Gospel Night in April.
But the biggest buzz on social media likely came from the announcement that four pretty well-known acts would arrive for Friday’s Old School Hip-Hop Night.
The team is trying here to find the right acts on the right date — balancing arena availability (Saturday Caps games impact the arena transition) with available artists with their price tags.
“And know on wood, this just worked out,” Lochmann said. “Everyone works together, and that’s how we came up with this, and we’re pretty happy with it. And what I love about it is I got a bunch of texts that were like, ‘Seriously???’ ”
What do players think about all this?
Hmm. Well, I asked Tomas Satoransky about the four acts, and he was not familiar with any, although he did used to listen to Wu-Tang Clan when he was a youngster. Scott Brooks is more of a Prince and Michael Jackson kind of guy, but he pointed out how good the crowds have been on concert nights. (The Wizards beat the Pistons on Go-Go Night this season, running their record to 5-0 on concert nights.)
But frankly, Wizards fans are so mad at the world right now that they don’t want whimsical quotes from players about Old School Hip-Hop, so forget it.
What if you don’t yet have a ticket to the game but you really want to go because of this blog item?
Well, the game is trending toward sold-out status, but if tickets are still available, you can buy them up until halftime and still get in. Although that would sort of defeat the purpose of attracting a lively and noisy Friday night crowd to help the home team triumph over the Magic.
The shows, by the way, start about 20 or 25 minutes after the game ends, and usually last for 30 to 40 minutes. Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh are expected to close Friday night’s show.
Is this just an ad?
Possibly! On the other hand, I have written so many rude things about the Wizards over the last decade that I kind of owe them one. But really: I have tweeted many things about the Wizards this season, and I’m not sure any of them got a more positive response than the news that Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane and Kool Moe Dee would be playing a postgame show.
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