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Rubio-mania inspires less-than-great jersey and ticket sales

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By now, you have likely heard about the Wolves fervor that Spanish wunderkind Ricky Rubio has brought about in Minnesota. When he arrived at the airport, they played Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2." When he was introduced at the Target Center, he hit the court and showed everyone they have a lot to look forward to. When he performed at the First Avenue Club, he played a legendary song and became a star in his own right while also proving to everyone that teamwork is ultimately what makes records go platinum.

People cannot get enough of him, so you would expect the Wolves to have sold lots of jerseys and season tickets, right? If you did, you would be wrong. From Charley Walters for Pioneer Press:

The Timberwolves' signing of Ricky Rubio and his subsequent appearance at Target Center last week resulted in sales of almost 200 replica No. 9 Wolves jerseys at $65 each, leaving the organization with smiles.

The Wolves also sold about 540 full season tickets since signing the 20-year-old point guard from Spain, the team said Monday, bringing their total full season-ticket equivalent to about 7,100.

Many of the new season-ticket purchases were part of a $9-per-game upper-level-seat promotion that runs through Friday. The Wolves said about one-third of the new season-ticket purchases, ranging from $20 to $750 (courtside) per game, were in the lower level of Target Center.

Walters attempts to sell these numbers as impressive, but the fact of the matter is that they are pretty uninspiring. A few hundred replica jerseys may seem like a decent number, but it's not many considering they represent the first Rubio merchandise available from the franchise. Plus, 700 season tickets is actually very few, especially if a large number came from the dirt-cheap promotion mentioned above.

To be fair, several factors may be depressing sales, including the upcoming lockout; it's tough to get too excited about the next basketball season when no one knows when it will start. More generally, though, the lack of tangible results in the wake of Rubio's arrival suggests that Wolves fans want to see on-court improvement before they shell out their hard-earned dollars.

With Rubio and Derrick Williams now in town to join Kevin Love and Michael Beasley, the Wolves have a young and exciting team, albeit one that may take some time to become a playoff contender. Fans could eventually warm up to them and become season-ticket holders. But it'll take more than a beautiful head of hair and some slapdash theatrics. They want results.

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