A raucous crowd greeted the famed Harlem Globetrotters as thousands filled the Brownwood Coliseum Thursday night.
Lines snaked through the Coliseum as fans from Brownwood and beyond waited for their opportunity to see the Globetrotters, who spent Thursday night ribbing children, adults and opposing Washington Generals players throughout their hour-and-a-half exhibition.
“I’ve had so many people say the same thing ‘wow, look at this crowd. This is how it should be when the Globetrotters come to town,’” Brownwood Sports Coordinator Roland Soto said. “I’m really pleased with it. [The crowd] is about what I thought we were going to be. I got a little nervous with the floor seating, but the coliseum staff worked so hard to make sure everybody was comfortable.”
Soto previously said the coliseum staff worked long hours, especially setting up the venue for additional floor seating at the last minute. Soto said he also received a hand from the Howard Payne University softball team, which had previously assisted when the Globetrotters last visited in 2013 but head coach Jose Mata said that crowd was much smaller than Thursday night.
“We were experienced with this and we enjoyed it the last time, but this was a lot bigger than what it was six years ago,” Mata said. “The chamber of commerce did a great job bringing everybody in here. One thing about our girls is they like to interact with the community. It’s one thing to be visible and help wherever we can.”
During Thursday’s exhibition against the Washington Generals, the Globetrotters did not waste a second. When not performing circus level acrobatics or flashy moves on the court, the Globetrotters often pulled children from the crowd, challenging 10 kids to try to make a steal on the team’s best ball handler, substituting kids to put in a few points themselves and even dancing to ‘YMCA’ in between quarters. For parents in attendance – whether they purchased the $26 balcony seats or the $65 floor seats – the money they spent seemed well invested.
“It’s been really cool. My boys are really enjoying. My oldest was screaming pretty loud trying to get chosen for the pick 10 kids (activity). I think it was fun and great they were able to get the Globetrotters come to Brownwood,” said Kaylee Wolf, a resident of Brownwood.
With city officials still tallying the ticket sales, concessions and other revenue generating endeavors, the final figures from Thursday night will not be available for days, but regardless of how much revenue the city generated, Soto considers Thursday night a slam dunk success.
“In the next few days, I would love to hear peoples’ feedback and their take on it,” Soto said. “Any time we do an event like this, we’re going to scrutinize it and say ‘how can we do it better? How can we make it more efficient.’ Not only for our guests visiting, but for the organization doing the event. Overall, I feel like it was a great success.”
Oh, and the Globetrotters defeated the Generals again, 102-69, and 6-4 in a special challenge to end the action.