Thursday, January 24, 2008

The NBA is Fund-Tastic!

As any of our loyal readers would know, we bought a car a couple weeks ago. The Kia dealership has this deal going on - test drive a Kia, and get two free tickets to a home game of the Seattle Supersonics. So, since we drove the car (we were already going to buy) around the block, we asked about the tickets.

"How many do you want?" the guy asked.

"How many can we have?" we asked.

"10?" the guy suggested.

Turns out they've been finding it difficult to give these tickets away. Which probably says more about interest in the local NBA franchise than it does about interest in Kia automobiles. But, the Kia people realize it doesn't look good to have lots of empty seats where they had promised fans, so they were desperate to give these away to willing suckers. (Note to Kia - I have the feeling that nobody would really notice if your seats were empty. From what I hear, Key Arena is pretty empty these days, anyway.) So, we took 10 tickets to this Sunday's game against the Sacramento Kings.

If you've been paying attention, these are interesting times for the Sonics. Their Oklahoma-based ownership has been finagling to move them to Oklahoma-City. This is supposedly because the locals refuse to fund a $500 million dollar arena in which a bunch of rich guys can get richer. Many suspect, however, that said owners are using the arena as a ruse; that they bought the team to move them to Oklahoma City in the first place, thus taking Seattle's team in order to cement their status as heroes in Dustbowl Land.

In addition, the team is tanking this year. Just lost their franchise-record 12th game in a row last night. All reports are that they are just plain pathetic.

So there's this perfect storm brewing. Ownership wants to move, the locals refuse to pay for a new arena, the Seahawks have never been so popular, and the Mariners are a close #2. Interest in the Sonics is flagging quickly. And across the board, the NBA model appears to be broken. Most teams are losing money, viewership is down, even the ratings for the NBA Finals are plummeting year after year. Yet, many locals are angry that the NBA would allow this sort of thing to happen - new owner destroys team and city legacy in order to pad his own pockets. It's all this big, ugly mess.

But, we got free tickets, so why not? Olivia may never get to see professional basketball in Seattle again, so we'll go for it. Plus, it will be a good way to spend an evening with family and a few friends, and just maybe, perhaps, get to see some good basketball. They have to break that string sometime, right? And if Kevin Durant ever becomes a superstar, we can say we saw him his rookie year.

Oh, but this was the other thing. We went online to see what our tickets would cost. We're in the "end zone," behind the basket. About 21 rows back. Not the nosebleed, but certainly not prime seats (what do you expect for free?). And these tickets go for $90 a piece, plus a $9 service charge.

Are you kidding me? That's $1000 worth of tickets we got.

I'm not sure whether I should feel lucky that we got $1000 worth of tickets for free, or outraged that anybody would charge (or pay) that much for tickets to a Sonics' game. How does anybody afford these things on a regular basis? How does a working-class family scrape up enough to pay hundreds of dollars for a 2-hour game?

No wonder the NBA is broken.

I think, after this, we're switching to minor league baseball.


Kent said...


Glenn said...

thats amazing. i think the same thing is going on in most of the major sports. last time i went to a giants game, it cost like 25 bucks to sit as far away from home plate as you could possibly get. gotta pay athletes millions of dollars somehow.