Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sometimes You Gotta Spoil Yourself

My dad, my sister, and I went to the Chicago Bulls game versus New Jersey yesterday afternoon.  We had been trying to get to a Bulls game this season for a while (we went to Bulls games in 2006 and 2007 but didn't go last year).  When my sister came home from school for the weekend, she suggested we go to a Bulls game since both me and Dad were off work.  Usually, I work on the weekends (the perils of retail) but I actually had Friday and Saturday off this time.

What made this game a little more special than the other ones we've gone to was the section we were sitting in.  The United Center has three levels of seating:  100 level (on the same level as the court), 200 level (the club level) and 300 level (nosebleed seats).  For the other games we went to we were in 300 level seating.  This time around, we were able to get (and afford) 200 level seating.  Now I see why those seats always sell out.

The United Center has pretty good sightlines all the way around, but our seats were great.  There aren't as many rows in the 200 level as there are in the other sections, which means that you're not as far back.  Two things tipped me off immediately that this level was meant for at least semi-high rollers.  First, Lexus sponsored the entire level.  Every section number sign had the Lexus logo below it and there was a Lexus on display on the level.  The other thing that tipped me off was the presence of a coat check.  A coat check?  At a basketball game?  Damn.

However, the piece de resistance had to be what happened once we sat down in our seats.  A United Center employee started chatting with us (we were there over an hour early) about sports and stuff.  Then, he revealed that he was the attendant/waiter for our section.  The waiter.  There were menus attached to our seats.  If we wanted anything from the concession stands all we had to do was place an order with him and the food would be delivered to us.  The prices were exactly the same as at the concession stand. 

We definitely took advantage of this.  It was quite amazing.  The only time I left my seat during the game was to go to the bathroom at halftime.  The concession prices were both steep ($5.50 for a 20 oz. bottle of pop?) and not as bad as you'd think ($4.75 for a huge bucket of popcorn which would probably cost at least a dollar more at the movies).  My sister summed it up best regarding our experience on the 200 level:  "I can't go back [to the 300 level]."

If there is one negative about being on that level it is that the people who sit there are quieter.  The three of us had a great time yelling, clapping, and booing at the game.  However, the people in the row in front of us sat perfectly quiet the entire game.  We were probably the loudest people in our section.  The people on the 300 level were quite loud the entire game.  Some Chicago Bulls boosters went through the various sections and pumped up the people to cheer.  Their roars resonated through the stadium.

Finally, let me talk a bit about the United Center crowd as a whole.  It's already well-known among Chicago Bulls fans about how the stadium gets really loud whenever the Bulls get 100 points (because if they get 100 points and win, everyone in the stadium gets a free Big Mac).  What I don't think is as known is how loud the crowd gets during the Dunkin Donuts race.  The Dunkin Donuts race is a little contest played during a timeout in the game where a bagel, a cup of coffee, and a donut race against each other in an animated video.  Everyone in the stadium has a card with one of those three items on it.  If the item on your card matches the item that "wins" the race, then you can take your card to Dunkin Donuts and get the item free.

During the entire game, the crowd never got louder than it did during the Dunkin Donuts race.  When the coffee won, you'd swear Ben Gordon had hit the game-winning three.  What can you say about a crowd that gets livelier when they get a free Big Mac or a free coffee than when their team actually wins a game?

1 comment:

  1. "Jordan is rolling in his grave" - Me via Charles Barkley