Unless the title of Dave McKenna’s column—Cheap Seats—is intended to be ironic, his devoting 1,200 words to the dubious personality quirks of over-the-hill tennis pro Jimmy Connors struck me as a waste of time (5/17). McKenna would have been better off exposing the outrageous seat-pricing policy at the recent Corel Championship and the obvious modus operandi of its promoters—money-grubbing and elitism.
As a case in point, I phoned the tournament director and wrote a letter to the president of the Woodmont Country Club requesting a single-day’s seat behind the baseline for the semifinals. I was told emphatically that in order to be seated in this desirable location I would need to purchase a “series” ticket, meaning a ticket for every one of the matches throughout the week, which would have added up to several hundred dollars. This for watching matches that seldom last an hour, involving players with creaking physical ailments and zero world ranking.
When I accused the president of the “tony” (McKenna’s adjective) Woodmont Country Club of being party to a discriminatory and unfair ticket-pricing policy, he responded with the laughable comment that tickets are available for anyone who has the money to pay for them. Oh, wow! Three cheers for economic democracy!
A larger issue here is why McKenna continues to create the impression that there is a populist, Joe Six-Pack level in big-time sports. The reality is that there is no such thing these days as a “cheap seat” for a professional sporting event. Even the ones featuring second and third-rate performers, such as those at the Corel tournament, are aimed at “fans” with lots of disposable income, such as corporation executives and their clients and other plutocrats. The only “cheap seats” remaining are those in front of the TV set, and for even those the genuine sports fan may soon have to pay through the nose.