The Big Game
On the levels: Why it's better to hobnob in the nosebleeds than chill in theclub section
It's safe to say that fans at the NCAA Final Four championship game Monday night were among the most die-hard (or their flights got canceled and they didn't know what else to do on a windy Houston night).
Whatever their reason for attending, tickets were easy to come by because, for the most part, fans of eliminated VCU and Kentucky sold theirs — anyone could pick up a ticket far below face value downtown, on the MetroRail or outside Reliant Stadium — or stayed home.
We spent the evening avoiding the press box (high atop Reliant, it's the bar-none worst seat in the house) and sniffing out the elusive UConn fan, and we learned something: The seemingly much cushier Club level has no soul.
If you can't be courtside, the nosebleeds are the place to be.
The fans in upper decks are the truly committed. They paid a premium before the weekend began — $160, says one spectator — just to be in the building for a game they could see better on television.
When Austin-based Bert Stoddard saw the San Antonio Spurs last month at the AT&T Center, he sat even higher with his back against the wall, but those seats didn't compare to how far away his seats in Reliant felt.
"I knew I wasn't gonna be close, but I'm worried about being able to see if the free throws go in," Stoddard said, but allowed that the smaller field of play contributed to his seats feeling interminably far off from the action.
Another couple who declined to be named traveled from Indianapolis to cheer on Butler and have already put their names in for the chance at Final Four tickets in New Orleans in 2012. For the nosebleeders, it's all about atmosphere.
And if they could've seen the game better on TV, the club-level fans were actually watching the game on TV. Couches everywhere were full of lazing fans. After Saturday's games, club-level tickets were selling for $325, less than what many must've paid early, yet those ticket holders seemed relatively indifferent to the game.
Why the club level is so sedate is beyond reason, being that it's the only place in the stadium — due to NCAA regulations — where one can access a full bar.
We'd rather go drinkless and sit with someone who cares. Wouldn't you?