Warriors deliver broken promises, and the parking ain’t free

How many times has the Myrtle Beach area seen a “Professional” sports team come to town with big hype and big promises, and fail to live up to those promises? Whatever the number is, you can add one more team to the list.

The South Carolina Warriors began circulating information early on that they would be a big-time team, with big-time deals. Our games should sell out, we’ll put 3,000 people in the stands for our games, we’re going to build a multi-use arena, we’re going to broadcast the games live on the radio and internet, we’re going to bring the ABA All-Star game to town, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that.   Frankly, this local is tired of hearing it.

The latest straw broke for me when I attended the Warriors’ 183-101 win over the East Point Jaguars on Saturday at the North Strand Recreation Center. Not Recreational Center, by the way, as the Warriors have been calling it. The Warriors sent out a press release last week describing how they were making a move to the more “Fan Friendly” confines of the recreation center. The new center, we were told, would hold approximately 800 fans, the concessions would be better controlled, and the parking would be free. (This release can be viewed on their website here).

I’m not sure if you’ve visited the North Strand Recreation Center before or not, but there is absolutely no way that place could hold 800 people. In fact, the listed capacity is much lower than that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice facility, very nice. But, it simply doesn’t hold that many people. It’s a small detail, but these small details have now accumulated into a big deal.

The free parking offer was certainly a plus. While the Warriors were playing at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, everyone was charged $3 to park, so fans would save that money. I always thought that single fact would repel some fans anyway. So, you can imagine my surprise when I showed up at the first home game since the move to the recreation center and was stopped at the gate and told that I had to pay for parking. When I explained that I was with the media and that the press release said the parking was free, I was told that it didn’t matter, I would be paying.  In fact, I was told that even the volunteer staff photographer had been required to pay.

I guess I just don’t understand how this can happen. You sell season tickets to people and promise that you’ll play in one of two arenas centrally located, and then you move your location to the very north end of the Grand Strand, angering many people as evidenced on the Warriors Facebook page. And, then when those few loyal fans that do make the extreme drive north show up to your game, you charge them for something you’ve clearly said was free. This is wrong in every sort of way.

I spoke to a few of the volunteers as well and was informed that they had been required to pay for parking. Now, one might say “Well, it was out of our hands, the recreation center made us charge.” But, I asked the volunteer at the gate who he was representing and he stated that he was collecting for the team. As you might expect, he also stated that he was tired of getting yelled at by everyone. I can only imagine that he was, since free parking was promised, and now they were charging.

This is bad for business and bad for the Myrtle Beach area. When a team comes in like this and makes all these promises and then fails to follow through, they make it very difficult for the next group of investors that try to do something special. Working out deals with radio stations, broadcasters, announcers, the convention center, and everyone in between and then breaking those deals is not to anyone’s benefit, no matter how many games you win.

There are some positives about this team. The main factor is that they are very good. It’s enjoyable to watch Jo Harris slam one down, or Jack Leisure shoot the three. These guys are better than they were in college and they were pretty good then. They have a coach that knows what he’s doing and really cares. Their dance team has clearly put in many hours preparing for the season and each event.  But, unless some of these small details like telling people they can park for free and then charging them are corrected, there won’t be many people there to see the championship that the Warriors are now claiming that they have a shot to win, despite being only 4 games into the season.

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One response to “Warriors deliver broken promises, and the parking ain’t free”

  1. Chris Griste says:

    Good info. Don’t you have to have a business license to collect money. You think the team has this kind of commercial license? Just wondering. One thing I’ve noticed is there is no easy access calender of the things that you report on. It would be nice to be part of some of these events and to have a one stop webpage that reports where it is before it happens and to stay on the website to see the reporting of the events. Maybe an alert of the events that you are going to be at.

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