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 KUSports.com 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.