Los Angeles Lakers Crowd Brought Down by Celebrities?

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Los Angeles Lakers Crowd Brought Down by Celebrities?
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The Staples Center in Game Seven was loud, as it should have been.  The crowd was rightfully into this historic game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.  I wonder, however, if the crowd could have been even better—not just last night, but throughout the entire season.

Throughout Game Seven and the entire playoffs, the television broadcast had segments where it showed the plethora of Hollywood celebrities in attendance at the Lakers' games, generally sitting courtside.  Several of the celebs shown are known to be huge Lakers fans, especially Jack Nicholson, whose caption whenever he is shown only says “Jack,” as if he needs no introduction at a Lakers game. 

But presumably there are also celebrities sitting in the best seats of the house who are not very big Lakers fans at all.  They are only there because Lakers games are events just like any other LA event, and they have the money to afford attending such games in such seats.

Prior to Game Seven I was watching a Maria Menounos interview  (via Barstool Sports ), where she discussed the differences between Lakers and Celtics fans.  Maria, other than being a rich celebrity, a smokeshow (that’s an amazingly attractive girl for all you non-Stoolies), and my girlfriend, is also a huge, huge Celtics fan.  Having been in attendance at Game Six in LA, she was able to make note of some of the celebrity Lakers fans sitting courtside with her.

These “fans”, or Lakers Fakers, as she calls them, are not great fans, she says.  If they are even at the game, they are simply on their phone texting.  She said that for them, Lakers games are just another event that the celebrities need to get some face time in.  She also said that oftentimes these Lakers Fakers don’t even show up until at least midway through the second quarter, and/or leave the game early to beat the traffic!  Maria, who was sitting only second row, was able to snag courtside seats for much of the game since Diane Lane hadn’t even shown up until the game was half over!

Now, I must say that of course, these Lakers Fakers are a small majority of Lakers fans.  Yet, they have some of the best seats in the house, and they get to sit closest to the action and to the players.

Admittedly, I don’t know the types of people who sit courtside at Celtics' home games, besides rich celebs who grew up in Massachusetts and are noted Boston sports fans, such as Maria and Ben Affleck.  Yet, the price of courtside tickets and the lack of celebrities at least allows for the opportunity for real, diehard fans to sit closer to the players, not only in Boston, but at a lot of other arenas throughout the U.S. 

Given the ridiculous prices of Lakers' courtside tickets on the secondary market, there is not even an opportunity for a story like Tyler McGill’s  (he walked from Boston to NYC for a courtisde ticket to each Celtics Finals game) to surface.  Undoubtedly, there are Lakers fans who would walk from LA to San Diego for Finals courtside tickets, but given that the celebrities pay absurd prices for those tickets, no one else can sit there.

At SeatGeek we have taken a look at the prices of ticket transactions on the secondary market throughout the NBA Finals.  We have noted a substantial increase in price when the games were played in LA compared to in Boston.  For Lakers' home games the average transacted price was $817, whereas it was $541 for Boston games.  Lakers' courtside tickets were selling for as much as $82,000 versus only around $6,000 for Celtics' courtside tickets!

Given the incomes of the celebrities in LA, they were obviously able to afford courtside tickets, whereas an Average Joe, yet diehard Lakers fan, was not.  Whoever sold the courtside seats, whether it be a ticket broker or the Lakers, can’t be blamed for being willing to sell tickets to celebrities who are willing to pay a lot of money to show their faces at this Hollywood event.

For regular Lakers fans this notion is very unfortunate.  The large presence of celebrities who do not care about the game, and who are sitting in the seats closest to the court, really brings the fans down.  The players on the court vibe off of the crowd, especially those closest to them on the court, and especially when the crowd gets rowdy.  Undoubtedly, Diane Lane and many other celebrities in attendance during Game Seven were not rowdy.

Luckily for the Lakers and their fans, they were able to pull out a win despite the inordinate amount of celebs in attendance sitting courtside (ABC had three separate segments where it showed a ton of celebrities at the game, many of whom made their appearances simply because Game Seven was the place to be).

If I was a Lakers fan, I would be extremely upset about how much Lakers fans drive up the price of tickets.  Since courtside seats are so expensive and such a high percentage of face value, generally the seats way up in the stands will be more money too (this is also because of increased demand for tickets).  These high prices prevent many diehards from attending the games.

My bottom line is that the Lakers' crowd was not as good as it could have been.  Tickets were simply too expensive.  I’m not saying that Celtics fans are better than Lakers fans; it’s simply that more average, yet spirited, Celtics fans were able to attend the Finals games, whereas in LA the average, yet spirited ,Lakers fans were not.  It’s unfortunate—but at least Lakers fans can say their team is NBA champions for two years in a row.

This article is also featured on  SeatGeek Sports Blog

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