Today in the bag, I'm talking ticket renewals, and the continuing playoffs in the NBA and NHL.
Click below for the bag...
Basketball renewals have gone out -
Yes, Virginia, there will be a 2014-15 basketball season. In a sign that the calendar is slowly (so painfully slowly) inching towards November, season ticket renewal forms for men's basketball went out late last week. While the notice means I have to open up my pocketbook, it's a pleasant surprise to see the ticket office on their game, as renewals didn't out last year until early June. We'll see how the rest of the process goes, but maybe this is a sign that things are turning around for a universally panned portion of the athletic department.
For those wondering: yes, there is a price increase. On the plus side, it's nowhere near as costly as it was last season. In 2013, the AD 'kept ticket costs flat,' but tacked on mandatory Buff Club donations throughout the stadium, which had the affect of doubling ticket costs in some areas. This season, the donations remain the same, but they've fiddled with the printed cost of the tickets. The bottom line is, depending on your seat level, prices are going up anywhere from $15-$50 per ticket. For me, that means 450 bucks total, well over what I used to pay for some semi-decent football tickets (*cough* basketball school *cough).
|Even with the price increase, expect men's basketball to remain a hot ticket in 2014-15.|
None of this is ideal. In a perfect world, ticket prices would remain neutral, and there would be sunshine and ponies for all. Unfortunately, this isn't a perfect world, and CU not only can, but needs to look upon basketball as a revenue producing venture. Season ticket packages sold out last year, and, as any freshman business student can tell you, when a product sells out demand is high, prices are necessarily going to rise, and the supplier may want to find a way to increase inventory. Colorado Athletics has met that order, tweaking ticket prices while prying open new areas for higher paying customers.
Capitalistic ugliness aside, Colorado Men's Basketball is still one of, if not the best sporting values in the region. No reason to jump off the bandwagon now.
Around the NBA Playoffs -
Portland Trail Blazers vs Houston Rockets
The title of 'Game of the Weekend' goes to Friday's Game 6 between Portland and Houston. Behind career-defining heroics from Damian Lillard, Portland put away the awkward Rockets on a last-second shot, 99-98. Lillard has been known inside basketball circles as a fantastic performer for quite some time now, and I expect that this shot will put him on the national map for good. He's Portland's best kept secret no longer, and, combined with monster nights from forward LaMarcus Aldridge, looks to have the Blazers in a position to go on a dark horse run.
|Damn, Dame. That's cold.|
Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors
A weekend that featured a shocking total of five Game 7s was highlighted by Sunday's thriller between Brooklyn and Toronto. The Raptors came all the way back from a 10-point deficit late in the fourth quarter, and had the ball down one with enough time left for one play. In front of a boisterous home crowd, the inbound went to Kyle Lowry. Unfortunately for our neighbors to the north, Lowry never settled, and his desperate drive to the rim was met by Paul Pierce. The playoff veteran easily rejected the off-balance attempt, and the Raptors fell 104-103 to close out the series.
Indiana Pacers vs Atlanta Hawks
I don't include this series because of a fantastic finishing game (the Pacers easily won a lame Game 7), or because the tilt was all that exciting. I include this here because of how ugly the Pacers have looked so far in the playoffs. The East's #1 seed has struggled mightily with a team that finished six games under .500, and looks completely lost. There are some serious problems with the one-time challenger to the Heat's conference crown, and I can't see them getting past Washington in Round 2. Maybe they'll surprise us all, and we'll look back on their Game 7 win over the Hawks as the turning point, but expect heads to roll if Indiana can't make it back to the Eastern Finals.
Around the NHL Playoffs -
Chicago Blackhawks vs Minnesota Wild -
Look on the bright side, Avs fans, at least you didn't have to watch your team get ambushed by My 'Hawks over the weekend. The Wild have been doing their best to stay with the defending champs, but Chicago has rushed past them in consecutive third periods to claim a 2-0 lead headed to Minneapolis. To date, I haven't seen much from Minnesota that makes me think that the change in venue will mater all that much, but we'll see how the Blackhawks fare on the road. Still, Chicago has now won six straight playoff games, and looks to be back into their winning mindset.
|All smiles at the madhouse|
Boston Bruins vs Montreal Canadiens -
The racial ugliness that grabbed headlines in the NBA Playoffs has apparently spread to the NHL. In the aftermath of a memorable 4-3 double-OT victory for Montreal, capped by PK Subban's second goal of the game, some frustrated Bostonians took to twitter. In the process, they hurled enough racial insults at Subban, an African-Canadian, to get the N-word trending in the region. What the fuck? Seriously, Boston, trending? Of course, this isn't the first time that this has happened with the Bruins involved, and the organization should figure out something more effective than a sternly-worded press release.
New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins -
This series caught my eye after a very engaging Game 1 went to overtime. The Rangers went on to win 3-2 and steal home ice advantage. Pittsburgh rebounded with a 3-0 shutout in Game 2, but it'll be very interesting to see how play stands after the next two games in the Big Apple. The Penguins have all the firepower, and responded well to a similar situation in the opening round against the Red Wings, but I really like the look of the Rangers.