Archive for Tuesday, August 25, 2009

KU fans abuzz over seats

August 25, 2009


Lately I’ve been running into people who ask good-naturedly if I’m going to cough up $15,000 for a press-row seat in Allen Fieldhouse. Yuk, yuk.

Word last week that Kansas Athletics Inc. will charge 15 grand apiece for 40 seats once occupied by the media in Allen Fieldhouse has created more of a buzz than usual when it comes to KU men’s basketball.

Curious about some of the reaction, I went to to gauge how the populace feels about the decision to add $600,000 to the KAI coffers by displacing the media.

Here are some of the comments to the story:

“… $600K to replace 40 media hacks with Jayhawk boosters. Looks like win-win to me.”

This one was predictable. Surprisingly, though, it was the only anonymous pot shot I saw directed at the media. Truth is, writers and broadcasters don’t care where they sit just as long as they don’t have to invoke open-meeting laws to secure access to the arena.

“Like the move but would love to see students along a sideline. Imagine the deafening roar on top of what is already the best experience in college basketball.”

Perhaps it would be best not to ask for too much. Just think how much more revenue KAI could generate if the nearly 7,000 students were moved into the upper rows and their current seats tossed into the priority-points mix.

“(James) Naismith and (Phog) Allen are probably rolling over in their graves, because Lew's school of big business is now ruining the ‘collegiate’ experience.”

Naismith might be twisting, but not Allen. The Phogger was famous for his coaching, but his knowledge of X’s and O’s was matched by a P.T. Barnum-esque appreciation of dollars and cents.

“I worry that priorities have become twisted under the Reign of Lew, and Allen Fieldhouse is losing that special feel.”

Unlikely. Not only will the venerable barn — it really hasn’t been a fieldhouse since they covered the dirt floor in the early 1970s — retain its unique charm, it will be more fan-friendly when the current renovation is complete.

“The market value of those courtside seats is a lot more than $15,000. I have no doubt they could sell all of them for $30k each, if not more.”

You’re probably right. This year was essentially a trial balloon.

“Just wait until a diving player or even just a ball comes crashing over that table and injures a wealthy fan. Most of the media is used to that kind of action and knows how to dodge.”

I’ve covered basketball games in Allen Fieldhouse for more than four decades, and I can’t recall any incidents in which either a fan or a media member was injured by a diving player or stray basketball.

“I can already picture the old, rich geezers who will be sitting there. Too bad.”

Perhaps not so bad after all. At least many of those old, rich geezers will be better dressed than most of the old, poor sports writers who once sat there.

“Lew Perkins is a genius.”

Not exactly. It didn’t take a genius to transform Allen Fieldhouse from a gold mine to a platinum mine. All it took was the guts to challenge the status quo.


cato_the_elder 8 years, 9 months ago

As for the comment about who will be sitting there, we've already been through that. After the first big round of selling prime chairback seats to the yuppie elite, the folks who chose to stay in inferior seats - and not punt on going to the games altogether out of protest - could often be seen sporting binoculars, playing a game of "who's sitting in our seats that we'd had for 40 years?" It will indeed be interesting to watch those who are watching who occupies these seats. As for those who choose to occupy them, the fact is that in a free society personal excess, even if at times of questionable taste, has to be tolerated. It's not too dissimilar from freedom of speech - if you believe in it, you have to tolerate the lack of moderation that frequently accompanies it.

jeffds01 8 years, 9 months ago

i think it is a great idea, and will provide a lot of money for the school and basketball program, and for continued upgrades at allen fieldhouse

next year they should really work on the food situation, because its a joke, a realy joke.

i like the court side seats though, we are one of the only big name basketball schools that doesn't offer court side seats to our fans......and now we do....great idea lew, just make sure to spread that money around where it needs to go, and not into someones pocket book!

mr_right_wing 8 years, 9 months ago

They could charge even more than that, and people would still gladly stand in line to hand it over!

admireed 8 years, 9 months ago

KU Radio network has 3-5 seats for their work. Newspapers can do the same (AP) and cover games with a couple of folks

4theHawkS 8 years, 9 months ago

If only Lew would remember the real reason this amazing money generating machine exists is because of the STUDENTS of the University. Place like Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky are arguably KU's largest revenue competitors and provide much more courtside seats for STUDENTS than at KU. Since the selling of the student's soul to the devil back in 2002 when priceless seats were traded towards Lew's points system, the tradeoff has never justified the means. A mere million dollar deal with KAI for some rec center funding that would have happened anyway hardly seems warranted. Luckily the undeterred KU faithful still make the place as loud and crazy as possible while being up in the rafters.

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