NBA Outdoors: A Good Idea?

Scott OttersenCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2008

The Phoenix Suns are planning on playing a preseason game outdoors.  And, the League OK'd it. 

My question is: why?

The only reason I could come up with is to make money on the NBA during the preseason, considering the NBA knows that nobody cares about the preseason.

Who wants to pay to watch some undrafted rookies and NBDL wannabe's play a scrimmage game (which is basically what the preseason is)?

But, the bright minds at the Phoenix Suns thought that playing a game outdoors would change the minds of 16,100 (the capacity at Indian Wells) fans. 

Let's hope that those same bright minds realize that people are not going to fly out to Palm Springs, California to watch Steve Nash and Co. play for eight minutes, and then be pulled for some kid off the corner.

I'm having a hard time understanding what the purpose of this game will be. 

Is it a marketing ploy?

If so, what are they marketing?

They can't be marketing outdoor NBA games, because unlike the NHL, basketball games can be affected by the weather. 

And, with the unpredictability of Mother Nature, the League would possibly be making a mistake every time they penciled in a game on a certain day.  Not to mention that there are only 10 NBA teams that play in a state conducive of having an outdoor match during the winter months (the California, Florida, Arizona, and Texas teams).

But, even if the temperature was nice enough to have a game outside, you would have to worry about rain delays, or how the wind would factor into shooting percentages, or how noise may affect the ability for players to hear the referee's whistle, among other things.

Are they trying to reach out to new "customers"?

If they are, they'll be in for a wake up call when the only people who will show up for the game will be people who already know about basketball, or care enough to come and watch a preseason game. 

No "new" fan of the NBA is going to think, "Oh, I have never cared about the NBA before, but  now that they are playing outdoors, I might give it a shot.  Hey, honey, how about we take the kids to Palm Springs this weekend to go watch the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets play a basketball game that doesn't mean anything. 

It might cost us $1,000+ for the trip, but this sounds like the event I've been waiting for to turn me into an NBA fan."

If the NBA is trying to appeal to "new" fans, how about they try lowering ticket prices?

They might get more people to show up to the game if they aren't paying $15 to park, $40 for their upper-upper deck seat, $6 for a hot dog, and $4 for a soda! 

Or, why don't they make contracts non-guaranteed, so we don't have to deal with these prima donnas making $5-$10 million to play basketball, who mail in basketball games because they're unhappy that their team isn't as good as other teams, or that another player is making $1.2 million more than they are. 

That can't be the reason they are doing this.

So, what is the reason?

Let's leave it to a quote given by Rick Welts, the Suns' President and COO,:

"It's going to be incredibly cool."

Oh, ok.  I guess it's a good idea then.