Individual ticket sales have yet to begin — they go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. — but already the Tacko Fall phenomenon is operating at full force for the Maine Red Claws.
“Things have been going extremely well” on the season-ticket sale front, said Red Claws president Dajuan Eubanks from Portland, Maine, on Wednesday.
“Traditionally we do well on opening night, but we have the Tacko Fall factor and Tremont Waters factor along with us being owned outright by the Celtics. It’s been through the roof.”
The home opener at the Portland Expo for the Celtics’ G League team will tip off at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, when the 7-foot-5-inch Fall and the Red Claws’ other two-way player, point guard Waters, will lead the Celtics’ minor league team against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Eubanks said Fall as well as Waters will be used to help market the team in the Portland area, but Fall’s presence has been felt in Maine since he first began playing in the summer league.
“Once he made his debut in the summer league back in July, in that first game, I can tell you, from that day forward, we have not been able to have a conversation that hasn’t involved, ‘Is Tacko going to be a part of this team?’ ” said Eubanks.
“That’s beginning back in July, before he was solidified as a player or even a two-way player for us. So, with that excitement starting back then, we’ve not gone a day without people asking us, ‘So what’s the likelihood of us getting Tacko?’ It’s legitimate, and he’s here now as a two-way player.”
Since the Red Claws and Celtics held a joint press conference to formally announce the Celtics’ purchase of the team in Portland on Oct. 15, Eubanks said there has been a spike in both partial and full season-ticket packages.
Eubanks said capacity at the Expo Center ranges between 2,200 and 2,300. At last year’s Nov. 9 opener, attendance was only 1,726. Attendance on Saturday and Sunday games in January and February routinely exceeded Expo Center capacity, with attendances listed at 2,417.
Besides what he will bring to the Red Claws and could someday bring to the Celtics, Fall’s presence is a marketing gift the Red Claws will not shy away from using.
“Tacko is an anomaly in his right — I don’t think many teams have had the opportunity to work with someone such as him,” said Eubanks. “He’s a phenomenon — 7-5 and can move up and down the court and has tremendous potential in front of him.
“The phenomenon around him is real in that way, and with him being in market the last few days, we’ve seen nothing but genuine excitement and just really wanting to see him in action.”
That said, Eubanks said the franchise will be cognizant that there are other players on the roster, and that not everything is all Fall, all the time.
“He will be part of the overall marketing that we do in particular when we talk about our alignment with the Celtics and him being a two-way player,” he said. “Fortunate enough for us, we have Tacko, but we have some tremendous other players that will be given to us as well throughout the season, Tremont being one of them as a two-way player.
“If you look at the Celtics’ roster right now, there is a bevy of young guys that also can hold their own that we may eventually see this year on assignment as well. Tacko will be one of many that we will continue to promote in our alignment with the Celtics.”