MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Monday, November 5, was the start of a whole new ballgame for the Memphis Grizzlies, with new ownership plus a new attitude in the front office.
The Grizzlies hit the court that night for their home opener against the Utah Jazz, while new majority owner Robert Pera was introduced earlier in the day.
As if the game itself, plus new ownership were not enough, there was a party for the fans on the plaza at FedExForum.
The night was all about new beginnings for the Grizzlies, their season and the Memphis fans.
Before a drum line started playing, the dreary day dampened spirits. Early on, there weren’t many fans on hand for the party. But, once they began to arrive they were enthusiastic.
“Grizzlies, Grizzlies!!” fans shouted on the FedEx Forum Plaza.
“I’m a huge Grizzlies fan, ready for another year,” said fan Clark Schifani.
He was ready in part, because of the Grizzlies’ ownership group was formally introduced earlier on opening day.
“We’re fully committed to the community,” said Robert Pera, “and to leveraging the Grizzlies and the brand name to make a positive impact on the community.”
“I’m excited about the new management,” Schifani told abc24.com.
“We realize how important this team is to this community,” stated new Memphis Grizzlies CEO, Jason Levien, at Monday morning's press conference.
There was so much excitement about the home opener it even attracted an international crowd.
“This is our first game, so it’s really exciting,” said Cherry Beckett, who was visiting Memphis from Australia with her family.
The final price paid for the Grizzlies by Pera and his group: $377 million.
Both Pera and Levien pledged to take the Grizz “to the next level.”