To the baseball, hockey and basketball season ticket holders (the people who put up with escalating ticket fees, impossible parking and out of this world concession prices to attend every home game and root on their favorite team): YOU HAVE IT MADE!
First of all, baseball
is played in the glowing warmth of the summer sun. Hockey and basketball
are played under a roof in climate controlled conditions (check your coat
at the door).
Football fans stand alone at the short end of the stick. Forget about the weather issues - I don't know a single fan that minds sitting in Lambeau Field or Ralph Wilson Stadium (that's Buffalo) in the dead of winter to cheer on their team. But why is it that football season ticket holders are treated like deflated pigskin when their team makes it to the Super Bowl?
Baltimore is playing New York in Super Bowl XXXV. Both teams sell out their regular season games. The Ravens play in PSInet Stadium, which holds 69,084 fans. Giants Stadium seats 79,466 fans. That's 148,550 hardworking, dedicated, people who all, through their vocal participation, played an important role in the success of their teams this past season.
Rich from Baltimore emailed me this week. He is a Ravens season ticket holder. Rich said that a lottery was held among season ticket holders. The selected "winners" would each get the opportunity to purchase 2 Super Bowl tickets at face value ($350.00 each). They selected 2,000 names (Rich was not one of them). That's a total of 4,000 tickets disbursed among 69 thousand loyal fans. Owen from New York wrote me with a similar scenario for Giants fans. Raymond James Stadium in Tampa has 66,321 seats. Do the math. 66 thousand seats - 8 thousand real fans. That's what I call the short end of the stick. 88% of those attending Super Bowl XXXV don't deserve to be there.
Who gets the tickets? I can understand family members and friends of the players and coaches - we'll call that 4,000 tickets. Come Sunday, there will be 54,000 corporate bigwigs, celebrities, media members and "connected" people with varying degrees of interest packed into Raymond James Stadium socializing at football's biggest annual event (sweetheart, can you pass the finger sandwiches).
Of course, there are plenty of tickets for sale at ridiculous prices (I've heard as high as $5,000 each). How do these "scalpers" get a hold of so many tickets? I know Rich and Owen would have loved to win their respective lotteries and attend the game. They wouldn't be selling their passport to a once in a lifetime experience in order to make a profit.
Here's how I would have distributed the tickets:
Give each player and coach 10 tickets. That's only a fraction of the requests they are receiving from friends and family coming out of the woodwork since the clock ran down in each championship game.
Give the media 100 tickets. How many ways can a game summary be written? Let the rest of the media watch the game on TV. They can high tail it over to the stadium for the post-game interview when the game ends. Get rid of the foreign press altogether, they play futbol with their feet!
Give each member of the half time show one ticket. On the other hand, most members of the half time show don't give a hoot about what happens before or after their "15 minutes". Let them assemble in the parking lot during the second quarter and usher them back out of the stadium when they're done.
Tell the over indulged Hollywoods that there's a Clinton rally in upstate New York at six o'clock Sunday (those that stick around can have a ticket).
Show the corporate bigwigs to the hospitality tent across the street from the stadium.
Give the professional scalpers a one way ticket to the big house.
Divvy up the remaining tickets (what, about 60 thousand!) among the Ravens and Giants season ticket holders!
What you wil get is a stadium filled with legitimate, enthusiastic, (bordering on the) lunatic fans - there to give overwhelming, once in a lifetime, support to their teams.
What you will get is a great Super Bowl experience - regardless of the outcome.
What you will get is game 7 of the World Series, Stanley Cup and NBA Championship all rolled into one spectacular, memorable event.
Spectacular for the teams.
Spectacular for the fans.
Many thanks to Rich and Owen for your valuable input.
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