Columnist Charita Goshay concludes that star power and money get people to the Finals, while the fans get brushed aside.
It hardly seems fair that many of you who have been rooting for the
Cleveland Cavaliers since the bad old days, when they were the
“Cadaver-liers,” won’t get to attend the NBA Finals.
That’s because even before the first tip-off, ticket prices for the series
between the Cavs and the San Antonio Spurs vaulted into the stratosphere.
Even the scalpers are getting nosebleeds.
According to figures released by the Cleveland Visitors & Convention Bureau,
scalped tickets are ranging from $325 for a bird’s eye view to nearly
$15,000 for a VIP courtside seat.
The team has a lottery system for tickets, but you probably have a better
chance of hitting the Ohio Lottery.
The Cavs were so bad for so long, it turned me off from NBA basketball. So I
won’t be a fair-weather hypocrite. I view them in the same way I would
regard five ex-husbands: I wish them all the best.
Already, sports-fan celebrities are popping up around Cleveland, a city that
most of the rich and fabulous have tended to avoid unless they were
contractually obligated to be there.
Such people were nowhere to be found when the Cavs’ best shooters couldn’t
hit the ocean. But many of you were there.
However, there’s too much money at stake for sentiment. As a result of the
NBA Finals coming to Cleveland, which needs every gold Sacagawea it can get,
the city could net more than $4 million. Good for the long-suffering city.
Unfortunately, the blue-collar diehards who deserve at least a “Witness”
T-shirt for surviving the Ted Stepien Era seem always to be the first ones
to be thrown from the train.
Such is the nature of professional sports. This is the age of the luxury box
and Personal Seat License (a fee you pay that gives you the right to buy a
But it isn’t the movie stars and new-money millionaires who keep
professional sports teams afloat. It is the bleacher bums, the schlubs who
buy the $5 hotdogs and spend the equivalent of a day’s pay on replica
jerseys. The faithful who pound on the tom-toms whether the Indians are
62-100, or 100-62, and who love the Browns even as they’re screaming at the
It isn’t TV stars who greet the Cavs at the airport in the dead of winter
after they’ve been blown out of a game. It’s the people who outfit their
babies in overpriced team-logo bibs and sleepers to start them out right.
They clog the airwaves of sports talk radio and possess a savant-like
command of team statistics.
For diehards, the game is the thing. It’s what makes life fun. Everything
else is “have-to-get-it-done” stuff.
For them, sports is drama set to a game clock. It is the closest thing to an
opera they will ever witness -- or want to.
But the idea that sports is purely democratic, or that millionaire athletes
are still somehow playing for “The Gipper,” does not jibe with the way the
working-class fan frequently is elbowed aside during the playoffs or a
Certainly, ticket-owners have a right to buy and sell their tickets at
whatever price the market will bear. Really, you’d be crazy not to make the
most of a moment that may not come again. Still, it somehow doesn’t seem
fair that those of you who gave the most can least afford it.
Reach Canton Repository columnist Charita Goshay at (330) 580-8313 or e-mail: