(thx Andreas for the pic)
When the NBA announced that the Boston Celtics would be opening the 2010-11 season against the Miami Heat, I thought, "man that's gonna be exciting!" Then my next thought was, "those ticket prices are going to be ridiculous." And sure enough, they are. The Celtics posted on their website that tickets would go on sale at 11am on Friday Sept.17th. I talked to a few friends and coworkers, and we all pretty much had the same idea. We would get on a laptop and/or desktop, and also start calling the toll-free number right before 11am.
Well, I logged-on to the Celtics website around 10:55am, and at 11:07am, I was told their were no seats (not even a single) available for the Opening Night game. A coworker told me that she got through at 11:04am and also got the message that "no tickets" were available for the 10/26 game vs the Miami Heat.
My final chance at getting something directly through the C's (Ticketmaster) would be by calling their toll-free number. Well, I finally got through to the automated system at about 11:10am and you guessed it: nothing available. For those wondering, the reason it is so crucial to get tickets for marquee games like this directly through the team is the price. A decent Loge seat via the Celtics website will run you about $100. Ticket resellers will jack that price up by double, or even more sometimes.
Some of you are probably saying to yourselves; "what did you expect?" or "it's like this every year."
Granted, I did know that the demand would be crazy, but I still thought that if maybe I got through quickly enough, I could at least score myself 1 seat. I was lucky enough to get one that way for Game 4 of last year's NBA Finals.
So now I would have to wait until a couple of weeks later when season-ticket holders got their tickets and started to place ads on Craigslist, or sell them through resellers like StubHub, Ace and the like. But before resorting to those usually overpriced markets, I would try TicketExchange.
TicketExchange is a safe, legal way for Celtics season-ticket holders to sell their tickets to games they cannot attend or simply want to unload. For some of the non-marquee games, you can even find seats for under face-value. Being that their are 41 home games, most people have to skip at least 2 or 3 for work, family, etc. For each Celtics home game, their are always at least 10 or so listings for tickets on TicketExchange.
But not for Opening Night 2010. Not one single seat anywhere in the Garden. That in itself tells you just how hyped-up this game is, and just how bad Celtics fans want to be there.
So to make a long-story short, I ended up having to go through one of the overpriced ticket resellers. Out of the 3 (2 local 1 national) sites I browsed, the average price for a "nosebleed" or "cheap seat" was roughly $210. If you wanted to get something in the lower or "Loge" area, you'd be talking at least $400. One site actually has a listing from some greedy jerk trying to sell his or her courtside seats for $33,000 a ticket.. I cannot begin to tell you just how much that makes me want to vomit.
I debated with friends and other fans, and was on the fence for a while. I finally decided to buy a lower seat using a recent bonus I received at work. This Opening Night at the Garden is going to be exciting I believe, and I want to be there. Lebron is looking for revenge for last year's early exit at the hands of the C's, and our boys in green want to remind everyone who the defending Eastern Conference Champions are.
So if you're like me, and decide that you just have to be there, browse the sites, watch out for scammers, and remember that the closer to game night you wait, the less tickets will be, and you'll actually have the ball in your court (pun totally intended). Scalpers outside the Garden know that as tip-off approaches, they have to unload their tickets or risk eating them.
Well, my ticket arrived in the mail today folks, and despite my wallet being a little lighter, I am still very excited for next Tuesday when the quest for Banner18 resumes!
(tip of the hat to Shawna for some of the ticket price info)