SBD/Issue 89/Facilities & Venues

Drink It Up: Pepsi Center Remains A Top Fan-Friendly Arena

The Pepsi Center “remains one of the NBA’s most fan-friendly arenas,” as the Nuggets offer “one of the league’s best values in seating ... and have one of the most fan-conscious [GMs] in the business in Kiki Vandeweghe,” according to Greg Boeck of USA TODAY. Boeck revisited the arena, which topped his list last April of all 29 NBA arenas based on “ambience and entertainment value.” Boeck notes Vandeweghe publicizes his e-mail address “to monitor feedback” from fans. That led to a new feature “providing video-screen and public-address updates on players who leave the game with an injury.” Vandeweghe said, “That was a fan idea. They wanted to know that. They said they get it on the radio and TV but not in the arena.” Boeck writes the price of his ticket increased $5 to $60. In addition, the price of concessions and in-arena merchandise increased, and the fans, “unlike last year ... weren’t into the game until well into the fourth quarter of a triple-overtime [game]. A lot of fans even left after regulation” (USA TODAY, 1/26).

NETS’ GAIN: Boeck also revisited Continental Airlines Arena, which finished last in the survey last year. In a separate piece, he writes Nets Senior Dir of Entertainment Marketing Petra Pope is “pumping life and energy into the once-sterile atmosphere.” Nets Sports & Entertainment President & CEO Brett Yormark said of Pope, “She’s reinvented the business.” Boeck notes the Nets have an “edgier dance team that now ranks with the best in the league, a more lively acrobatic team, a more personable mascot, a hip new kids dance team, now-music and shaded lighting that brings a more intimate, theatric mood to a cold arena.” Those changes have “juice[d] up the fans’ energy level,” which was “sorely lacking” at the game Boeck attended last season, and have increased the team’s “overall fan-friendly rating” from a 2.82 last season to a 3.22 this year (USA TODAY, 1/26).

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