Three Problems with the Fan Experience at NBA Games
For those of you that attend NBA games regularly, it's no secret that there are improvements to be made in regards to the overall experience.
Personally I attend New Orleans Hornets' games, so my experience might not be identical to yours, but I'm sure there are at least a few things that we all share a distaste for.
It's not so much the actual act of parking that I mind, but the entire process that leads up to it.
There are about 30 things that irritate me, but here are a few, followed by my own experiences.
—Parking employees that stand in completely random places instructing you to keep driving. Yeah, I get it, find an open spot and park. I've actually parked in a garage before believe it or not.
The thirty pointless employees in my garage are costing someone a fortune, which they take from people like me.
—Huge sections of roped off parking spots. In New Orleans, we use the parking structures from the Superdome, since the Arena is right next to it. For some reason, officials don't allow access to about sixty percent of the spots, making parking a complete pain the ass.
Sometimes I've had to park outside in the rain because of this.
—Fees in general. I'm fairly sure that my tax dollars paid for the construction of the arena and the parking facility. Explain how the cost of parking in a spot for three hours costs anyone ten dollars.
My story—Two years ago, the first year the Hornets came back from OKC, things were fine with parking. Early on I paid five dollars a game and got a nice spot in a relatively wide open parking structure.
Since nobody was attending games, it was easy to get in and out. When the games started getting crowded, they doubled the cost and instituted a new means of entering and exiting, one that required at least twice as much time from each driver.
Even stranger, they routinely changed up the entry and exit routes, never utilizing all of them at once.
So last year, to simplify things (haha), I bought a parking pass, not realizing that it could only be used in a single garage. As it turned out, that garage was by far the least accessible from my house. For forty or so games I spent an extra five to ten minutes a game trying to reach the STH parking lot.
This year, I've gone back to my original parking strategy, despite the obvious inconveniences and additional cost.
First off, most of the food I've had at games has been delicious and cost somewhere around nine dollars. That's OK with me.
What I can't for the life of my figure out is why anyone thinks it's reasonable to charge nine dollars for a beer.
I'm not the kind of guy who stresses about a few dollars by any means, but being asked to pay that much for a beer is insulting. This isn't at all about being cheap.
The fact I could get that same beer three hundred yards away for one tenth the price, leads me to believe that the NBA thinks I am a fool. Personally, I don't give any unnecessary business to people who patronize me.
The Hornets acknowledge this and actually sell beer for one dollar outside, prior to games.
My solution—I drink outside for free, since STH get free beer from the Hornets prior to most games, and then bring a flask of whiskey in. Sure the five dollar RC Cola is a littly pricey, but combined I get a strong 44oz drink for the same price as a single 24 oz beer.
Ideally basketball, and all pro-sports, would just charge a reasonable price for beverages. If beers were three of four dollars I would gladly pay. Unfortunately they choose to price gouge, leaving us little choice but to break their rules.
*If anyone from the Hornets reads this, I'm just kidding. I don't sneak liquor in, honest.
As a three-time STH, I've gotten to know a lot of fans in my section, as well as people in the Hornets organization.
What I can't figure out is why I still don't know my ticket checker.
I sit in the same seat every single game and somehow my section has had seven ticket checkers this season alone. Why can't they just have the same employee checking tickets at the same section every time?
It would eliminate the unpleasant experience I have every game of putting down my food and drink, digging through my pockets, and trying to locate a small scrap of paper to prove that I belong in a seat I have occupied for three years.
My experience with NBA games has been my favorite of all live team sporting events.
Although I love baseball, it's just not quite as exciting.
Football is awesome, too, but there are just more problems than there are with basketball. I explain what they are here: Five Ways to Improve Saints.
I've had Saints tickets for five seasons now, but ended up finding the Hornets' experience so much that I actually sold off the last two seasons of Saints games in favor of Hornets tickets.
Unfortunately things have only regressed in my experience with the Hornets, both on and off the court.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still a happy camper.
In New Orleans, however, there are plenty of activities to keep me occupied. It would go a long way towards keeping me and all season ticket holders happy if the Bees would fix these easy problems.