The Cavaliers are back in the Eastern Conference finals, which means more watch parties and fan fests in downtown Cleveland. TV2’s Rob DiFranco has the details.
With the 2016 NBA Postseason moving on to the conference championship rounds the city of Cleveland is in store for a very busy few months. The Cavaliers defeated the four seeded Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, sweeping them for the 2nd straight year. With this series win comes more games, which means
the Cavaliers will continue to host their watch parties and fan fests in the gateway district.
The Cavaliers host a free fan fest outside the arena, before all playoff home games that features, “a regulation size basketball court, a lot of interactives and local community food trucks”, amongst other things including a live band and performances by the Cavalier Girls and the Scream Team. The event is attended thousands of fans during the latter stages of the playoffs.
The team also holds watch parties that take place inside the Q. Entry to the watch party cost $5, all of which is donated to charities, which include, “the domestic violence center in Cleveland and the greater Cleveland food bank” according to Cavs senior director of major events Chris Lesko. The watch parties, much like the fan fests include interactive games for fans. The indoor watch parties also feature a, “set up exactly like we do for a Cavs game, minus the players, we do on court intros, an anthem singer, we run it with time outs and events on the court and then we just play the game and get the feed from ESPN or TNT and run that on what we call our Humongotron.”
“set up exactly like we do for a Cavs game, minus the players, we do on court intros, an anthem singer, we run it with time outs and events on the court and then we just play the game and get the feed from ESPN or TNT and run that on what we call our Humongotron.” – Chris Lesko, Senior Director of Major Events
This postseason marks the 2nd year in a row that the Cavaliers have hosted these two events after missing the playoffs for five straight seasons, while LeBron James took his talents to Miami. The Cavs had experimented with the ideas for watch parties during the ’06-’07 season, starting off small in bars around downtown Cleveland and taking the party into the arena for away games during the team’s first NBA Finals appearance against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Cavaliers will host these events for the duration of the team’s playoff run, which will seemingly go deep into the month of May and possibly into early June, culminating in a NBA Championship, the team’s first and the first for the city in over 50 years. The team currently sits at 8-0 in the playoffs following two sweeps of the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks.
“I think they’re good. It brings the community together and we get to witness history, the first title in a long time, so I think it’s a really good thing” – Eddie, Cavs Fan Fest Attendee
They await their Eastern Conference Championship series opponent as the Toronto Raptors and the former team of LeBron James, the Miami Heat are tied at two game a piece in their best of seven series. Assuming the team can continue their winning ways to the NBA Finals they will either see the Oklahoma City Thunder, or a rematch of the previous two Cavs finals appearances, against the San Antonio Spurs or the Golden State Warriors.
Cavalier fans have responded well to the Cavs efforts to bring the city together. As one fan puts it, “I think they’re good. It brings the community together and we get to witness history, the first title in a long time, so I think it’s a really good thing”.