The prospect of drafting Zion Williamson has already provided a boost to the New Orleans Pelicans’ ticket office, according to a report on Tuesday.
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The Pelicans overcame weak odds to earn the first overall pick in the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night. As a result, New Orleans is on track to draft a potential franchise cornerstone in Williamson, who dominated college basketball as a freshman at Duke University and earned national player of the year honors.
Within hours of the lottery’s result, the Pelicans sold more than 2,500 season ticket packages, according to multiple reports. The franchise’s ticket sales staff stayed in the office well into the night to take purchase requests, and demand was so strong at one point that the team’s web chat function was knocked offline.
Through 1 a.m. local time on Wednesday morning, the Pelicans sold twice as many season tickets as they did in the hours after the last time they earned the first overall pick in 2012, eventually selecting perennial All-Star Anthony Davis, according to Times-Picayune columnist Jeff Duncan.
The Pelicans posted a video of their ticket sales staff celebrating the result in real time on Twitter.
Whether New Orleans draft Williamson as expected or another college basketball star, the franchise will look to return to the playoffs after a dismal 33-49 season marred by dysfunction between its biggest star, Davis, and the front office.