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Commentary: The high price of quality basketball

By Tom Knauer
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
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As the long lines at the campus ATMs suggest, men's basketball tickets are now on sale. The lower-level lottery winners were announced online last week, giving the victors first stab at some premium McKale Center real estate - for half the season, anyway.

I did some math, and I found that it'll cost me $84 to see games from both Season A and Season B, provided I find two people with lower-level seats.

That's not ridiculous for basketball tickets. My roommate is pondering how many hundreds of dollars he could reap through selling his tickets on eBay, and I'm sure many in-state students have pocketed a year or two of tuition in much the same way. Alas, I'm from New Mexico, and that kind of money doesn't grow on the palm trees decorating my sidewalk.

So I got to thinking:

  • For the $84 I'd spend watching our exhibition game against Team Georgia, I could buy 16 tickets to see Michael Moore talk at McKale Center Oct. 11. One athletic atrocity deserves another, right?

  • For the $84 I'd spend watching Sonoma State drop on in, I could buy a partial set of lacrosse gear, have it autographed by the UA lacrosse team that upset the Seawolves in last year's playoffs, and still have enough money to ship it all the way to Rohnert Park, Calif. (Hopefully in time for next season.)

  • For the $84 I'd spend watching San Diego in the National Invitational Tournament, I could buy 32 bagels with cream cheese and 32 king-sized Hershey bars for UA forward Isaiah Fox. We missed you last year, Isaiah, what with your pedestrian legal troubles and your freak season-ending injury against Florida. Add these foods to your diet, as I suspect you have in the past, and you won't have any problems staying on the court.

  • For the $84 I'd spend watching Wyoming come to town, I could book a one-way ticket to Cary, N.C., for the 2004 Women's College Cup, which runs from Dec. 3 Dec. 5. Sure, we'd have Notre Dame and North Carolina to bowl through first, but it's hard to deny how well the Wildcat women's soccer team is doing right now. And, at this rate, it's the only postseason action we may see in December.

  • For the $84 I'd spend watching Utah visit the desert, I could buy 15 dog whistles and distribute them among the Pacific 10 Conference referees. Why? Well, considering the calls they've missed during the last two football games, and their apparent disinterest even when Arizona head coach Mike Stoops approaches, what else can they be but a bunch of panting bit - oh, never mind. Moving on.

  • For the $84 I'd spend watching Washington State take the court, I could buy four Wilson tackified footballs from Target for the UA running backs. (Or 11 containers of Stick-um, you pick.) You could even get them yourselves, guys, if you're interested. Just don't take any discounts from the employees, no matter how eagerly they offer. Remember Florida State's Peter Warrick?

  • For the $84 I'd spend watching Oregon State frequent our floor, I could buy six tubes of ultra-strength BenGay for UA volleyball outside hitter Kim Glass. With Pac-10 play picking up steam in the coming weeks, her recently healed shoulder is going to need some occasional reinforcement. Consider it a present for the whole team.

  • And finally, for the $84 I'd spend watching Oregon wrinkle the welcome mat, I could buy a replica Luke Jackson Cleveland Cavaliers jersey, stitch it to a replica Andre Iguodala Philadelphia 76ers jersey, and parade around McKale during the game. It's the closest thing anyone there will see to a marquee matchup.

    That's about it, really. Conscious readers might be saying, "That's it? What about our rivalry games against California, USC, Washington and Stanford? What would you do with the money spent to see those games?"

    That's a good question.

    Of course I'm going to see those games, regardless of the cost. What do you think I am, stupid?

    - Tom Knauer is a journalism sophomore. He can be reached at

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