Hornets fans buzzing with excitement - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Hornets fans buzzing with excitement

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New Orleans, La. - Even before tip-off, fans were on their feet, eager to welcome the newest members of the team.

The Hornet's roster and management team look dramatically different, with eight new players and new team owner Tom Benson, who some say brought stability to the franchise.

"I know so many people who bought season tickets because they know that we are ensured to be here in New Orleans," says Cherese Oatis.

Team President Dennis Lauscha says the Hornets are now cross-promoting with the Saints to create an even bigger fan base.

"We have season tickets to both and actually we bought the half-year pass here because we wanted to support the Hornets," says Hanz Luetkemeier.

12,000 tickets have already been sold for every home game. It's the highest number of tickets sold prior to the season since the Hornets came to New Orleans in 2002.

Lauscha says he's expecting a near-sellout on game days.  "We're expecting this building of a capacity of 17,000... I mean, I don't know if we will be sold out, but we expect this building to be full, particularly for the first three games," says Lauscha.

The hype surrounding the upcoming season is evident.  Lauscha says it's about customer satisfaction, with a focus on the fan experience.

"Just today, we were going over the new renovation we're going to make to this building. They are really going to transform this building into something that we can really be proud of as New Orleanians," says Lauscha

Fan support brings with it a huge economic impact.  "Between the Saints and the Hornets, we're talking about a billion dollar impact for the city," says Lauscha.

The Hornets took on the team of their former home, the Charlotte Bobcats and won 97 to 82.

The first regular season game will be Halloween night in the arena against the San Antonio Spurs.

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