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Most Nuggets games should be free through the end of the season

Colin D. | February 26, 2015

I scored free tickets. But I still spent $15 to park, $5 on a hot dog, $9 for loaded tots and $21 on three warm Coors Lights. That’s a total of $50 I dropped attending a free basketball game.

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It would be unprecedented for Kroenke Sports to announce that from now until the end of the season most Nuggets games are free to the public but the company should seriously consider it. Sure, KSE should still charge when the Thunder or the Clippers or some other relevant team is in town but when the opponent is the Jazz or the Bucks or the Timberwolves or the tanking Knicks KSE should be content to collect for parking and concessions and make the seats themselves free.  

Pepsi Center was like a funeral last night. The Nuggets lost again, of course. Everyone was expecting that, though. What fans weren’t prepared for was just how deflated the arena was. The “Can” was more like a morgue.  There was no excitement whatsoever either on the part of the Nuggets’ faithful or the handful of Phoenix Suns fans that showed up. The arena was filled only to about one eighth of its capacity and more people were staring at their phones than actually paying attention to the “action” on the court.

I was fortunate. I scored free tickets. But I still spent $15 to park, $5 on a hot dog, $9 for loaded tots and $21 on three warm Coors Lights. That’s a total of $50 I dropped attending a free basketball game. Now let’s assume that had attendance been free that there would have been more like ten thousand people in seats instead of what looked more like about 4,000 people and that all of them spent $50. That’s a half-million dollars in revenue. Best of all, KSE could generate that revenue on top of what they already generated selling the tickets that nobody is using.

Here’s how I would do it:

Designate an entrance specifically for the non-paying attendees to a game. Know in advance how many unsold tickets there are to the game and immediately begin allowing that number of people to filter in at no charge. Once that many people have been let in ask the rest to wait until after the first quarter so that you can calculate how many sold but unused tickets there are. After one quarter of play begin allowing that many more people to filter in through the designated entrance, filling the arena from the rafters down so that the longer a fan waits to get in the better his seat may be. This way the best seats fill last, giving those who might have actually bought those better seats more time to arrive to the game. Any ticket holder who isn’t in his seat by the half is at risk of losing that seat.

Now, I wouldn’t let just anybody in at no charge. You can’t have Pepsi Center used as a homeless shelter. Those wishing to come in for a free seat would need to present ID and a valid credit card. That would help insure that everyone who enters has the wherewithal to buy concessions – and concessions are the key.

The Nuggets may be excited about Joffrey Lauvergne and Jusef Nurkic and the bright future they offer but it’s pretty hard for fans to rally around a team that they know is terrible and has no incentive to win. But if it’s free to go watch the big european guys develop then why the hell not head into LODO to catch the Nuggets? This will never happen, of course. There are probably a million reasons why it can’t work but it’s an idea that I had years ago and attending last night’s game iced it for me. My ticket was free and I felt like everybody else’s should have been too.

Written by Colin D.

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