MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves are taking steps to upgrade their arena after a summer roster overhaul caused a spike in season-ticket sales and gave fans a reason to believe this year's team will play past May Day.
Finally, this club is admitting it can't simply depend on Kevin Garnett to lead it to success on the floor and at the gate.
Since Garnett's arrival, Target Center has had a subtly flippant feel -- an undercurrent attitude that the Wolves always will be a hot fall, winter and spring ticket. That attending NBA games in a trendy, thriving downtown district will never lose its luster to patrons in a growing metropolis of nearly 3 million people. That Minnesota, despite the hype it gets for hockey, has always been a big fan of basketball.
With that on their side, the Wolves have never seemed overly concerned about making their fans feel wanted or providing more than basic media access to players and front office personnel to help them better and more consistently connect with their customers.
But the fact that only one of the Wolves' past six playoff games have sold out and the Wild are flourishing in hockey heaven across the river has clearly caught the club's attention.
Target Center will have a new scoreboard and new parquet-style playing surface in place for the Oct. 29 season opener against Milwaukee. The team has begun building a skyway-level store -- called "The Gym" -- that will sell Wolves and Lynx merchandise and open in early November, and a new video display board will be added to the northeast corner of the arena.
The scoreboard will feature a resolution of 929 pixels per square foot. That's the most anywhere in the world, according to the company supplying the board. It now will be viewable from virtually any angle or seat. A common complaint from ticket-holders near the court was that they couldn't see replays.
Owner Glen Taylor has committed more than $4 million to the project, and he doesn't want to stop there. The Wolves, in negotiations with the city of Minneapolis, are pushing for new seats, improvements to the concourses and better acoustics for concerts.
The building is only 13 years old, but scores of cities have built new ones since then. It's not, however, so much about keeping up with the rest of the league, as Red McCombs so adamantly argues in his new stadium push for the Vikings.
It's not so much, either, about staying on top of people's to-do lists. It's more about sending a message to the masses that this club cares about its customers.
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