Updated: Mar 24
By Andy Kopel
I could say I’ve always been a loyal die-hard Warriors fan. But I haven’t been. I might add that I’m one of about 15,000 strong and loyal that have outlasted decades of frustration to finally spot up close enough to the 3-point line to enjoy this current, joyful dynasty. But I am not. I could conclude that tens of thousands of avid Golden State followers are envious of my former Laker-loving self and wish they had my seats. Maybe they were, but no longer…
"The treatment of sports fans has changed dramatically over the years. I’m a Warriors season ticket holder and invest countless hours and piles of cash in my beloved “Dubs.” But faithful? Time will tell. "
You must know that I was a true, purple and gold-blooded, spoiled Laker devotee for 50 years before I sucked up two of the last few Warriors season tickets available five years ago. Over the years, the Lakers were always contenders, with many stars and championships. Enough diamond-studded rings and bling to satisfy all my ex-wives. But then they lost their luster to me. I saw the writing on the wall: years of mismanagement; personality squabbles among players and coaches; finally signing the smiling, free throw-missing, underworked and overpaid Dwight Howard, and losing Kobe to retirement.
Since I never could afford Lakers tickets in my young adult life, and feeling like I had missed out on Showtime, I suddenly found my newly puckered, band-wagoning ass drifting from my long entrenched allegiances, and craving the new and rising excitement in Oakland. Call me fair-weather? Many have. Call me an opportunist. You wouldn’t be ill-advised. But how smart was I? Time will tell…
Never questioning whether championships were in the future, I focused on the entertainment value of a new coach, young talent, new management, and $30 tickets I was confident would have reasonable resale or gift value if I couldn’t attend games from time to time. I didn’t care that I was up in the cheap seats. Hell, the higher up you get, the more sincere the fan. But I wasn’t just a fan anymore. I was a card carrying, season ticket holding, Steph Curry loving, first-time referee-yelling, once-in-a-while beer drinking, Warriors fan.
Three world championships and thousands of hours of enjoyment of my new team later, all is not well in the Kingdom of Kerr. At least for the rank and file season ticket holders. Don’t get me wrong: I do love me some Warriors basketball. Most entertaining 150 minutes of sport, night in and night out. Likeable players, coaches and owners. So why am I not happy?
Consider skyrocketing ticket prices and “take-it-or-leave-it” PSL requirements (paying for the “right” just to purchase your season tickets) that could bankrupt a crown prince. Further, reselling my tickets online is no longer a healthy or profitable proposition. Don’t just blame Ticketmaster; NBA teams get a sweet piece of the 21% combined resale commission chiseled from me and the purchaser. Adding insult to injury, food and beverage prices make movie theatre concessions seem like a great bargain.
And no guarantee that there won’t be lean years on the horizon. Can you pronounce, “See ya’ KD? What if the owners get sick and tired of paying the luxury tax? What if the star players opt for more cash from afar rather that piling up the hardware? What if, like with all dynasties, the bubble bursts sooner rather than later? Does my investment rest on Steph Curry’s fragile ankles? This all begs the question: “Why has the waiting list for Warriors season tickets swollen to forty thousand lemmings?”
The most obvious answer I propose: I am, and we are, citizens of a twisted fandom, loyal captives to an unyielding professional sports entertainment industry, which is merely a microcosm of the multi-trillion dollar global sports business. Can you say “Stockholm Syndrome three times real fast and click your heels twice?”
The “good news” is…. You haven’t heard the last of The FAN!!! Stay tuned…