A Trip to Boston: Experience of the Playoffs and Paying For Them

Boston Celtics. Photo via https://www.flickr.com/photos/rmtip21/3770285746

Sports Editor

Today’s high-profile sports consist of the core four: the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. These four major sports have been the leaders in revenue for some time, but there is a change emerging for all of them.

Media deals and rights to games are now overshadowing people attending them. Before TV, in-person experiences were the way teams made money. In other words: ticket sales.

Now the production of the game is more important, and the advertisements that go along with it. In a lifetime, anyone’s lifetime, you’re more likely to watch games on TV than in person, but the in-person experience still counts for something.

Ticket prices are a topic of debate right now, and ties into resting of star players in certain leagues. Resting happens mostly in the NBA, but ticket pricing deals with all of the core four.

We are in one of the biggest sports times of the year, having the NBA and NHL playoffs going on and the MLB season just beginning.

People take the time to travel states away to see their favorite teams, players, or just for good sport. Travel costs alone can add up. Is it a night game? Add hotel costs. These are just some of the variables included in seeing a ball game in person. These are the variables that many have faced and that recently, I have faced.

On Easter Sunday I traveled 137 miles to a train station just outside Boston, Massachusetts. At the station I bought a Charlie Ticket, to be able to get into Boston and more specifically to TD Bank Garden, home of the Boston Celtics.

The first train was small, warm and crowded. Around 20 people crammed into one cart for what seemed like an eternity. From there I switched to the aptly named green line, just three stops away from my destination.

The second train was the complete opposite of the first one. It was bigger, but had fewer people in it; it had air condition which was necessary because the temperature was approaching the mid-80s.

We finally came to the surface from underground to see the Prudential Building, towering over the water in the foreground. I was only minutes away from walking the streets of Boston an afternoon before Patriots Day.

Emerging from the train, walking the stairs up to Causeway Street, the smell of the food and yelling of the vendors gives direction of where to go next.

There it was, the TD Garden standing in the midst of traffic and road work, with people scattered around it. Starting time of the Celtics first game of the 2017 playoffs was still in the distance. Arriving early was key to beat the crowd but also gave more time to wander around Quincy Market.

Before I knew it, it was time to enter and claim our overly expensive seats. The Celtics had drawn the Chicago Bulls, a one verse eight seed matchup at 6:30 p.m.

In the playoffs, for most teams, t-shirts are given out to show support and unity, but the Celtics went in a different direction. They instead opted for wristbands that lit up during certain parts of the game, including the opening ceremony where they honored Isiah Thomas’ late sister, who had tragically died in a car crash the day before.

A moment that will always be remembered and talked about, and one of the loudest silences ever heard. Some 17,000 people joined together, to honor someone they didn’t know, for someone they certainly admired.

The Celtics lost the game, which was not what we wanted, but the experience alone made it hurt just a little bit less. Being there for a moment of silence before the game, the reaction to a play or call, or even a breakaway dunk cannot be mirrored on TV.

In-house experiences like this one are onc-in-a-lifetime, and though we watched the same game, you didn’t have the same experience.

Replication of the experience can only be shown, not lived. That is why something needs to be done about the overly expensive ticket prices. Why should our parents have stories of going to games for $10 or a concert for $5, when we need to break the bank for the same experience?

If the majority of the money made in professional sports is from television rights, then why not take the hit, and help fans make it to the games? Or is that just a stupid point, saying to throw money away, no matter where it comes from?

With the sports landscape the way it is right now, if an experience is what you’re looking for, then a decent amount of money is needed to find it.

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