If the NBA teaming with ticketing behemoth Ticketmaster — the company that charges you a fee to print your ticket out yourself at home — makes you a little uncomfortable, well, it probably should.
But this isn’t about you — unless you’re a team season ticket holder who sells off some of your tickets every year on StubHub. Or you like to go to a couple NBA games a year and buy tickets. Then this is totally about you.
The NBA announced Monday it has teamed with Ticketmaster to create “a comprehensive online ticketing destination for NBA fans.” That site will be up and running before the season starts.
Here is what is happening — if you want to go to a single game the majority of fans start online at the team’s Web site (70 percent, according to a study pointed to by Darren Rovell of ESPN). But after you see what the team is selling a lot of fans head over to StubHub to see what season ticket holders who cannot make that game want for those seats on the eBay-like site. (Yes, some of those season ticket holders are ticket brokers.)
The NBA (and its owners) want to control that secondary resale market, which is growing fast.
“The NBA is determined to provide their fans a safe, convenient place to buy and sell game tickets, and we are delighted to be delivering this revolutionary solution,” Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard said in a released statement.
What this really means is StubHub was making money off season ticket holders re-selling tickets and the NBA wanted a cut of that money. It is always about the money.
What we don’t know yet is the fees that will be charged to fans through the new TicketMaster site, but you can bet they will be comparable or likely lower than StubHub. At least for some games. A number of teams are going with sliding ticket prices — you pay more per ticket when the Lakers or Heat come to town than the Bucks. That could apply here in a number of ways (although that will be set by the team, not Ticketmaster). Teams will have a lot of control over this.
But we’ll have to see what the new site looks like and how it responds. That said, it’s about providing convenience — one-stop shopping — and hoping fans are good with the fees to have that convenience. Including the convenience of printing the ticket you just paid for out at home.
The battle has, stupidly, raged on between supporters of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Both sides seem to believe their preference is irrefutably the choice for the best player in NBA history.
And because they did not play in the same era, the question will never be answered. No doubt in 50 years they will write columns about Jordan vs. LeBron, just like their fathers, and their father’s fathers before them.
James has certainly seemed to take a bit of a leap in the eyes of the NBA community this season, likely because of his wonderful performance at age 33. He’s also single-handedly won two playoff series this year. It’s been incredible.
But LeBron rising above Jordan has also brought out some more reasonable takes. Former Chicago Bulls legend and Jordan running mate Scottie Pippen spoke up recently about the debate, giving a measured analysis that I think is pretty strong.
In short, Pippen basically said you can’t compare the two because of the eras, the style, and the fact they just don’t play the same position (if LeBron even has a position, that is).
That sounds right to me.
Chewbacca was at Game 3 in Cleveland Saturday. Sitting courtside.
Why? Because growing up on Kashyyyk he played a little hoop and admires LeBron James‘ skill? Because Drake gave him the tickets? Maybe. I mean, it’s not like that was just a clever little publicity stunt for a movie.
After the Cavaliers’ win, Kevin Love decided to make a little joke of it with noted humorist Kendrick Perkins, and it went over as well as expected (with Dave McMenamin of ESPN catching it).
That’s vintage Perkins.
Cleveland dominated Game 3 Saturday night. They played harder, to start. The Cavaliers’ defensive pressure on the ball was better, they were sharper rotating out to shooters and covering passing lanes. Cleveland’s role players stepped up and helped LeBron James.
Boston, meanwhile, wilted in the face of that pressure Saturday, something it has done a few times on the road these playoffs. The Celtics got away from the things that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guard Terry Rozier put it more bluntly, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston:
“I feel like we needed this (loss) to get us back … to get us ready for Monday,” Rozier said.
Rozier later added, “We needed to get our butts whipped. Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday.”
Cleveland is a championship team — from LeBron James on down through the core guys, they all have rings. They have been down before, and heading home it was expected they would play with force. Cleveland’s back was against the wall and they responded.
From the Celtics’ perspective, they also got a little too fat and happy and were not ready for what the Cavaliers came with in Game 3.
Now the pressure is on Boston to push back, to get back to their level of execution and do it under pressure. Make the Cavaliers prove the improved defensive effort was not a one-off game. The Celtics must move the ball and play with some pace, then see if the Cavaliers can keep it together in the face of crisp play.
When this series heads back to Boston Wednesday, it will either see the Celtics in control up 3-1, or the series will be a best of three (with the Cavs still having to figure out if they can win on the road). At home, the Cavaliers are going to play with force again and have some depth. We’ll see if Game 3 was enough of a wakeup call for Boston.
Houston found its blueprint to beating Golden State in Game 2: Strong defensive pressure on the ball, quick switches and communication on defense, getting out in transition when possible, and starting sets earlier in the shot clock and attacking downhill with James Harden and Chris Paul.
Now can they do that on the road? Against a more focused and sharper Warriors’ team?
That will be the question in the next two games of the Western Conference Finals, and it’s what I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.