Saturday, July 21, 2012

One man's journey to become a season ticket holder


Tuesday, July 24 I get to walk into the Thomas and Mack and select my seats. I get to donate to the RAF. I get to essentially own a little piece of what is hopefully a historic season. 

I've never intended this site to be about me, nor do I go out of my way to put my name on anything. I do the site because I genuinely love Runnin' Rebels basketball, can't get enough of it, and felt the coverage in recent years to be lacking. So keeping in line with that mission, I present my story of how I've attended or watched Rebels games, and the very proud step I've taken to become a season ticket holder.


There was a time that I was only peripherally aware of UNLV and its storied basketball team. As a man in his mid 30's, I was a youngish kid living in Northern California when the Rebels brought home the title. Also as a kid, I identified more with the NBA and had a few local teams to follow and root for - the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. I was aware that college basketball was enjoyed by many, but never could get into a game where there were so many teams and I could identify with none. Back to the NBA, Larry 'grand-mama' Johnson was big everywhere, not just in Charlotte and Las Vegas. He put UNLV on my radar, as did Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon, and those who followed in the NBA such as Issiah Rider, Shawn Marion and Keon Clark. Attending games was a really fun thing to do for a kid; my father regularly got luxury suite tickets by way of his business's accountants, Ernest and Young - so that was sweet. Being an avid fan of basketball as well as the NBA has maintained its prominence in my life, but there would be room eventually for college basketball.


Having selected UNLV as my alma matter for a bachelors degree (2000-2003), I got a chance to attend as many games as I could from the student section. There was no 'Rebellion' back then, only fans who had bridged the gap and were waiting out a stream of coaches, hoping UNLV would again rise to prominence. That year's team (2000-01) underperformed greatly, but had a lot of talent. Names such as Dalron Johnson, Kaspars Kambala, Trevor Diggs, and Marcus Banks may ring a bell. The salt in the wound, was that UNLV was banned from post-season play (not like the record would have allowed for much anyhow) due to NCAA sanctions. The following years were decent as we got to see Marcus Banks shine and make his way to being a lottery pick - awesome stuff. I got to live in the dorms with and occasionally chat with a freshman Lou Amundson, pretty cool.

Sitting in the student section was perhaps easier back then, not having to stand all game, or come really early to get lower bowl seating. But, it was kind of sad at the same time - a school with this kind of basketball pedigree barely getting turnout out of a sizable student body. Still - it was free, and I was a poor student, just rooting for his team.


After I left UNLV, and went on to further schooling I kept tabs on the Runnin' Rebels and admired from afar what was going on. My absence from the Rebels was short lived, as in 2006 I was back in town and ready for more. Like most Rebels fans you had to be excited about what Lon Kruger brought to this town - stability, traditions honored, and most importantly winning. The Sweet 16 season was the best things the Rebels had done, since the Final Four teams of  the early 90's. I remember during the run, I happened to be in San Diego when the Rebels were facing Oregon, and was extremely frustrated with the lack of television coverage - so much so that I traveled from bar to bar to find the game being shown. As many feel, the Rebels maybe peaked too early into Lon Kruger's tenure, and were never able to match or beat that crowning achievement. But still, Lon Kruger made the Rebels one of the toughest teams on defense, and we were regularly at least a bubble team for the tournament.

The Website Years

I have attended a handful of games each year, sometimes on my own dime - and sometimes due to the generosity of a co-worker with season tickets. There's a legitimate debate that could be held, regardless of sporting event, whether its better to sit at home and watch from the very best angles in HD, or to buy seats that won't break the bank, battle traffic, and watch the game in person. In former years, the sit at home strategy won out, but this year is different, its special, and its worth watching in person. You would think running this site would get me a media pass, well - that hasn't quite panned out yet.

I've put together a comprehensive breakdown of how UNLV Basketball tickets stack up to other entertainment in town, as well as our competition in the MWC and even an NBA team. Honestly, its the highest read article on the entire website. I did it for myself as much as for the people, because I wanted to see whether the university was taking advantage, comparatively, or were UNLV basketball tickets a good value. My conclusion this season - if it shapes up to anything even close to the hype, its totally worth it.

Besides being a fanatic Runnin' Rebels fan who dedicates several hours every week to writing new material for other Rebels fans to enjoy, I still remain a man who people have trouble buying a birthday present for. Sure, my wardrobe is at least 20% Rebels gear - but something is missing *Rebels Tickets*. I tried to jump on the bandwagon and buy conference season tickets last year, but to my dismay - UNLV was, in my opinion, taking advantage. What they did was offer the MWC season package (2nd half of the season) for the same price they were charging had you purchased the whole season before it started! That kind of tactic, although the Rebels had accomplished significant feats leading up to the MWC season, was too big of a mental pill for me to swallow - so I passed on that being my Christmas present. This season I wised up and put my money down early.

Let's not get crazy, I'm not some high roller who's looking at a piece of real estate in Gucci Row. I'm thinking more like center upper deck, hopefully low enough to enjoy the game. For a pair of season tickets, I intend to spend a bit under $600 (about $300 per). That's still a lot of money for me and my family to put towards anything, but its important to me and should provide substantial entertainment. So, Tuesday, July 24, 2012 I get to walk into the Thomas and Mack and select those seats. I get to donate to the RAF. I get to essentially own a little piece of what is hopefully a historic season.

For those of you who want to buy into the dream of the 2012-13 UNLV Basketball season, Tuesday may be your day as well. In the evening, after everyone (like myself) who ponied up a $100 deposit has selected seats - you may in-kind select yours. The marketing and sales people are calling it an open house, and more information can be learned here. You'll have to think about several things, 'can I afford it', 'will there be adequate television coverage now that The Mtn is dead', 'would I rather go piece-meal to games', 'would I rather root and cheer from my couch'. No doubt about it, economic times are tough, can you make it work?

Other Options

There are alternatives to purchasing season tickets, and still see a lot of games in person. Two strategies that could work for you are the UNLV Kids Club, and perhaps becoming a student.

The UNLV Kids Club, which I discuss at length here, gets your registered kids into any game for free (premium games are exempt from this), and up to 4 adults for half price. Granted, you need to have kids to enjoy this benefit - but it could be a really good idea for someone who's schedule can't accommodate making it to all of the games, but a decent portion. Seats were in the upper deck last year, and will surely be in the upper deck again - near other Kids Club Members.

Becoming a student might benefit you in many ways, such as furthering your education that could lead to a higher paying job. Student tickets are free, and to my knowledge, are available to anyone with a Rebelcard carrying a certain amount of credits (number to be found later) may get free attendance, and may purchase additional tickets for non-students at half price. You get to sit in the student section, can dress up without it being weird, take part in handling Mozilla or any of the other Fatheads that are now in the Student Section, and likely have a real good time. Its likely not worth it to audit a class or two to get into games for the price of tuition (and blow those classes off), so if you were considering that - just pay for season tickets.


Once I select my pair on Tuesday, I'll post photos to accompany this article, along with a recap of the experience. I can hardly wait to see my future seats. GO REBELS!


Today, I went down to UNLV's Thomas and Mack Center and picked out a pair of choice seats! The process was easy enough, came down at the scheduled time and rode the hallowed escalator to the front doors of the arena. It's go time, I was thinking.

Inside the doors were two tables, one which was manned by sales associates, the other that functioned as a pay station. Once there was an available representative, they guided me through the arena, checking to see what areas I was looking and and then suggesting possible seats. I started close to the enterance doors sections, and noticed some pairs or other groupings (3's and 4's) that were really low (as low as row A) and untaken. The staff had demarked available seats with paper tags, easy enough to understand. I thought, hmmm... let me check out these seemingly fantastic seats....

Issue.. those 'too good to be true' seats had obstructed views. Why were there obstructions you ask? Because especially in the upper deck there happens to be obtrusive railings and camera men stands that can block one's view. I suggested what should be a very easy solution to my rep - why not deeply discount these obstructed view seats, why pay full price for less than a full view? He agreed with me, but I guess the system cannot be changed by one man with a decently reasonable idea.

Getting back to seat selection, I was surprised that there was such limited available seats left. This speaks volumes for the Runnin' Rebels fans, not only over the previous seasons - but now. The place appears full up with season ticket holders. Putting that fact aside, I was able to find some good pairs of seats that didn't have particularly obstructed views in my price range. One was on one side of the arena, the other on the other side, they differed by 2 rows (vertically). I can up with what I thought was a good idea. I could not objectively remember what the view was in one seat, walk all the way around and sit in another and say one was better than the other. So, having a camera in hand, I snapped a photo from each and then just compared  the photos. Easy enough, selection made. Then, it was as simple as going to the pay station and dropping down the remaining balance ($100 deposit previously taken).

The math is as follows: ticket price + RAF donation + printing fees = price. In my case, $215 + $25 + $25 = $265 total per seat. 18 games of fun = priceless.

The word is tickets will be mailed out till October. I can't wait to receive mine! Here's the pictures from today.

1 comment:

  1. Found this site about a month ago. Best site for rebel basketball anywhere. Great job and can't wait for season to start!