Former Warner Record Mogul Irked By Lakers' Earlier Ticket Renewal Date, Team's Dysfunction
Former Warner Music Group A&R Manager Joe Smith two weeks ago "received a letter from the Lakers asking that he renew his season tickets two months earlier than in previous seasons" and is "considering dumping his tickets" as a result, according to Bill Plaschke of the L.A. TIMES. Smith has "four season seats on the baseline next to the Lakers bench," which he has held "since the team arrived" in L.A. No single ticket holder has "endured longer, and certainly no single fan has invested more." Smith said, "This is so out of line. The organization has become toxic from top to bottom." Plaschke wrote blind loyalties to the Lakers from "their biggest and richest supporters are slowly dissolving with the eye-opening reality" that late team Owner Jerry Buss' children are "offering no clear vision." The "final straw for Smith was the letter, sent to the owners of the 14,500 season tickets, announcing the new final ticket renewal deadline is May 19." That is "not only much earlier than in previous years, but it is also one day before the NBA draft lottery, smack in the middle of what could be a coaching search, and nearly two months before the Lakers will have a chance to begin signing free agents." Lakers officials noted that they "are not increasing the ticket prices" and explained that they were "finally following the league standard as most teams have much earlier renewal dates." Lakers VP/PR John Black said, "We need more time to implement new technology for the upgrade and renewal process, and we're agreeing to the league's demands that we fall in line with all other NBA team renewal deadlines" (L.A. TIMES, 4/6).