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That's The Ticket 

Where to sit and what you'll pay for Hornets tickets.

When New Orleans snagged the Hornets last season, many around the NBA snickered at the prospect of such a small metropolitan market supporting such a major sports franchise. After all, the Crescent City has been hovering around No. 50 over the past few years -- not too great, considering there are 29 teams in the league.

Add to that the lack of a strong corporate presence in the market, and the importance of flexibility in marketing season-ticket packages to the fans becomes even more critical. Which is why last season was so impressive watching Hornets home games; often, the "cheap seats" were filled with supportive fans who took advantage of the ticket bargains.

This year, the Hornets are offering a range of deals that they hope will continue to speak to fans across the spectrum. Season-ticket packages start as low as $795 (Upper End) for the 41 home games, which translates to $18.50 per game, and top out at $11,051 (Courtside A), or $257 per game.

Special offers include the group night ticket package, which breaks Hornets games into three categories for groups. "Classic" games feature ticket prices starting at $20 per for games against the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers. "Super" games (starting at $17 per) include the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic, the 76ers and the Dallas Mavericks. Finally, the "Slam Dunk" games (starting at $12 per) includes games against the Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves and the New Jersey Nets.

Building on this theme of "quality games" is the 15-Game Contender Plan, which targets bargain hunters who might not be able to afford season-ticket packages but still want to see key match-ups. For example, Lower Bowl normally priced at $48 can be purchased under the 15-game Contender Plan for $600 total -- $40 a game, saving $150. Some of these games include the Oct. 29 season opener against the Atlanta Hawks, the Nov. 7 game against the Lakers, and the Jan. 9 game against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.

Also, in response to fan feedback, night home games have been moved up a half hour to 7 p.m. All but two of the home games are at 7 p.m., the exceptions being the Portland game (2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15) and the Toronto game (6 p.m. Sunday, March 21, 2004). Nineteen of the 41 home games will be played on either Friday or Saturday night, while most of the weeknight games will be on Wednesday.

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