The look and feel of an NBA game is much different than a football game. Basketball rewards rapid play and frequent scoring, so game breaks are fewer and filled with frenetic activity, and the Smoothie King Center provides a much more intimate experience than the cavernous Superdome — no binoculars or altitude sickness pills required.
The Pelicans' dance team is really fun to watch; the Swoop Troop (young minions detailed to the ever-present Pierre the Pelican, who makes appearances throughout the building) are acrobatic and full of energy; and TV timeout interludes are designed to engage the crowd and keep the vibe rolling.
There are many inexpensive ticket packages, some as low as $11 per game, and many come with beer and food and special photo opportunities included. Packages come and go, and are listed at www.nba.com/pelicans/tickets.
Pelicans corporate communications manager Lindsey Mitchell says there will be several giveaway nights throughout the season to get your tchotchkes on, and lots of theme nights including Military Night, '70s and '80s Nights, Superhero Night and even Coastal Restoration Night.
If you have a few extra bucks to spend, the Pelicans offer more rarefied game experiences, including the Capital One Lounge — a "premium buffet" complete with Drago's grilled oysters and an upscale bar setting — and the Hub, North and South Club lounges. Even if you don't have a premium ticket, there are premium dining and drinking kiosks sprinkled throughout the building, including, of course, Smoothie King Smoothies.
If soft drinks are more your style, learn to love Pepsi.
There are lots of family-friendly options as well, including the Jr. Pelicans Kids Club — kids get T-shirts, hats, a miniature basketball, and opportunities to shoot free throws on the court after some games. For more info, check www.nba.com/pelicans/jrpelicans.html
Also on tap for this year: A bigger team store; an expanded main entrance; a new court with Pelicans decals; an expanded box office; a new sports bar on the 100-level with an expanded deck; and, last but not least, a new LED lighting system.