Tom Smart, Deseret News
NEW ORLEANS — Jazz CEO Greg Miller is defending the franchise's stance of declining to host regular-season games on Sundays.
But star point guard Deron Williams doesn't seem as if he's buying the notion that it's a sound strategy. He very much wants to play at least one home game a month on a Sunday in seasons to come.
"Of course I do," Williams said Friday, after Miller posted his reasoning on the team's Web site. "That would make our schedule a lot easier."
Miller addressed the subject, initially raised by Williams, in a series of "Greg's Mailbag" answers to fans.
"It is a business decision to not play home games on Sunday," he wrote. "We believe it would be very difficult to draw 19,911 fans (a sellout crowd) to EnergySolutions Arena for a regular-season Sunday game, based on past experiences we have had with Sunday home games during the NBA Playoffs. About the only way it would work was if the opponent were the Lakers, LeBron (James), or the Celtics.
"The Salt Lake Bees (minor-league baseball team, also owned by the Miller family) play between 10-12 Sunday home games each season, and our experience there has shown that Sunday attendance is about 50 percent less than other days of the week. Sundays are also slow for our Megaplex Theatres."
Williams, though, is more concerned about how the decision impacts scheduling for the Jazz — and forces them to play a seemingly inordinate number of games during the week.
"Every day of the week some months," he said, exaggerating only slightly. "It's pretty bad."
Asked if such a compact schedule exhausts players and the team, Williams — speaking during the Jazz's morning shootaround prior to their game at New Orleans on Friday night — didn't hesitate to answer.
"Very much so," he said.
Miller addressed several other subjects in his mailbag answers, including:
The Jazz's most important offseason priority: "To get tougher and more durable."
Whether there are any plans to build a new arena to replace EnergySolutions: "No."
But, Miller added, "I recently approved significant dollars to make some exciting additions to the arena. Our plan is to have them in place for the 2010-11 season."
He did not expound.
Why Jazz season-ticket holders will be paying more money next season, even though team President Randy Rigby recently said there will be no raise in ticket prices for 2010-11: "We added one-extra home game to the preseason schedule for 2010-11, which is why your season ticket price increased," he wrote to a fan who asked. "The price you paid per-game for your tickets remained unchanged, but next season we will have 44 home games instead of 43 that we've had for the past several seasons."
Miller on Friday also spoke to ESPN.com's Henry Abbott, essentially telling the TrueHoop blogger there's a reason the change-resistant Jazz basically have done things the same way for the past two decades or so.
"The recipe for success is executing fundamentals as well as they can be executed. It's a natural law that success or victory has to come as a result," Miller said. "I've seen dozens, or hundreds of examples of that being so, in all of our businesses, and I don't want to turn away from that now.
"And what if I did change how we did things, and we took ten steps backwards? Then we'd lose credibility, not to mention, I'd look like an idiot."
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