MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - It's getting hot in Memphis with Grizzlies fever growing. For the second year in a row the Grizzlies are going to the NBA Playoffs and the entire city reaps the benefits.
Tickets went on sale Tuesday, April 24 at 10 a.m. Since 6 a.m. fans were in line waiting to leave the FedEx Forum with Playoff tickets in hand.
Nick Elliott was the first person in line, he says, "I think they'll go pretty fast, everybody's excited, I know I was."
Tim Flowers designed his own shirts supporting the Grizzlies during their playoff run. He also waited in line for his playoff tickets, "I got them! I'm ready to go. This is hoop city! This is our time!"
The fans can't wait to see the Grizzlies in playoff action, and neither can the merchants on Beale Street just a block from the stadium. Jeff Goss, the Director of Operations for Beale and Second Inc., says, "It's phenomenal for Beale Street, for Memphis. I'm pretty sure we were having this conversation last year. It's huge."
Goss says in 2011 business on Beale Street was up 25 percent on playoff days, which was a huge boost for the entire city. "It's a big influx of money in the city and Beale Street as a whole," Goss says.
The Senior Marketing and Communications Director for the Grizzlies, John Pugliese, says last year's playoff run was proof that the Grizzlies are a benefit for the city. "The restaurants, and bars on Beale and all of Downtown were booming pre and post game, and for watch parties for away games. It's great for FedEx Forum, but it's great for all the businesses in Memphis to have people in Grizzly blue cheering at the bars."
Elliott says it's a big change from a few years ago, "You didn't have it, you didn't have the drumline on Beale, nobody knew who the Grizzlies were, but they're noticeable now, it brings a lot to the City, it's great."
Flowers believes this year the Grizzlies will go even further, "This is our time to win a championship."
Fans say the more they cheer, the greater the Grizzlies run, and that means bigger business for Memphis. Goss agrees, "Go Grizz! That's all I can say. Go Grizz! We've had a great sports year with the Tigers, the Grizz, it's been a great year with the weather, no flood - knock on wood - the stars are aligning, everybody in Memphis is excited."
Grizzlies playoff tickets for the first round are on sale now. If you buy season tickets for 2012/2013 you can purchase playoff seats that have been set aside.