Charlotte Hornets president Fred Whitfield likes the team’s 2015-16 schedule for multiple reasons: Plenty of home games in holiday weeks, an adequate number of weekend home games and most particularly fewer games on back-to-back nights.
Whitfield discussed the schedule, which came out Wednesday, in a Thursday interview with the Observer.
“As we look at the schedule I actually feel great about the dates we got,” said Whitfield. “We get a home game against Cleveland on the Friday night after Thanksgiving. We get the NBA champions (the Golden State Warriors) early in the season. It’s good to get them on their first East Coast run.
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“And we have plenty of home games in November and December to give our fans a quick chance to see the new team.”
On three Sunday home games
“We asked the league that if we do have Sunday (home) games, not to go head-to-head with the (Carolina) Panthers,” Whitfield said.
The three Sunday home games are all in November: The home opener is Nov. 1 at 2 p.m.; the Panthers play the next night on “Monday Night Football.” On Nov. 15 the Hornets will play at 5 p.m. after the Panthers play at the Tennessee Titans at 1 p.m. On Nov. 29 the Hornets will play at 2 p.m., with the Panthers playing three days earlier on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas.
On fewer back-to-backs
“Adam (Silver, the NBA commissioner) made it very clear he wanted to cut down on the number of back-to-backs and particularly four games in five nights,” Whitfield said. “That was very good for us. Last season we had the most back-to-backs at 22 and I think we were tied the season before at 21.”
This season the Hornets play 16 sets of back-to-back games and two of those sets involve no travel.
“Overall this is very good move by the league to improve the product,” Whitfield said.
On 18 weekend home games
“It’s a fair mix,” Whitfield said. “It’s not just us (requesting games on weekends); every team in the league wants as many as possible. Certainly having (the Oklahoma City Thunder) on Saturday night right after the first of the year is appealing.”
What makes particular games marketable
“Having a home game the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving helps because kids are home from college,” Whitfield said. “But opponent is every bit as important as the day of the week.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell