Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pens 3 Isles 1

Guess where I was tonight? No big deal. Actually it wasn't my idea, the Tall Guy called me with the plan at about five o'clock. I thought it wasn't a bad notion; the snow would probably keep people inside, and so maybe there would be some cheap tickets out there.

Amazingly, there were no tickets available on StubHub and the only tickets available on TicketExchange were in the E and F sections at face value. So being the complete pessimist, I tried to talk my Dad out of it, while he, being the ultimate optimist and up for a challenge, talked me into going down to the arena at around 7 p.m.

He got out of the car near the Igloo as I parked, and he was able to find some tickets in the C section for about 50% of face value. The Tall Guy's all about the pursuit; if it were me, I would have folded like origami and gave the first guy I talked to face value.

Either way, I'm not really interested in talking about the game (yet). What intrigued me the most was just how expensive it is to see a professional sporting event in Pittsburgh. Actually, even a Pitt basketball game is pricey.

I have no real hard numbers, but I would think that 75% of Pittsburgh residents have been out-priced from Pens, Steelers, and Pitt basketball games (and that's probably very conservative). I'm not blaming those teams, it's simple economics: supply and demand.

I guess what I'm getting at is Pitt Football games and Pirates games. Now, it's no surprise that a market like Pittsburgh (that includes fans of Penn St. and WVU) can't sell out Pitt football games if they're not consistently in the top ten. And considering that the stadium is not on campus and therefore does not draw as many students as it should, it's really not that surprising that Heinz isn't packed for every Pitt game (especially those September games against the likes of Youngstown St.).

But what's not surprising is how the Pirates continue to draw enough fans to stay solvent (I know, I'm being excessive). For years, everybody has been using the "PNC is beautiful" excuse for why people go to the games. But I think the real reason (besides bobble-heads and fireworks), is that it is now the only affordable sporting event available to Western Pennsylvania residents.

I'm probably rambling and not really supporting my thoughts with any cold hard facts. But going down to Mellon Arena for a mid-February game against a middling opponent made me realize just how cheap it is to go to a Pirates game. It actually made me think of coming back to Pittsburgh after going to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Detroit this past year. The Tall Guy and I decided to head down to PNC Park during the middle of the Tigers/Pirates game. We got there in the fourth inning, bought the worst seats in the house (I paid since the Tall Guy picked up the SCF tickets... I think I paid less), we got a few Honus Wagner Statues (promo giveaway), had a few beers (cheapest beer per ounce in baseball), and got to see a Pittsburgh team beat down on a Detroit team for the second time in two nights.

For all of those people who have decided to boycott the Pirates and Bob Nutting, I would say it's a pity, because you're missing out on a lot of good cheap entertainment; which, unfortunately, just doesn't exist anymore.

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