We recently had a discussion in our office that stemmed from one of our staff commenting that the “real Pacers fans” are always up in the cheap seats. I strongly disagreed, in part because I know of many dedicated Pacers fans who buy premium seats for many games. But beyond that, I think that entire premise that the only real fans are those up high in cheap seats is based on certain pre-conceived ideas about what it means to be a fan.
Certainly my co-worker is not the only person that shares the notion of real fans being up high. A quick search of message boards reveals as much. From one well-known band’s message board we have such gems as, “lifelong fans cannot get a good seat,” “real fans deserve to sit front and center,” “the real fans are stuck at the back in the cheap stuff.” A recent article that was on yahoo.com had the author claiming that the people in the lower level of a basketball game were disinterested, quiet, and not actually true fans. The author argued that he would never again sit in the good seats, but would go up into the upper levels in the “better” seats with the “real” fans.
This claim is based more on certain types of behavior than anything else. Why is it that we attribute certain behaviors as being more “fan-like” than others? Sure, cheering is pretty obvious. But the more we yell at officials, the opposing team, and the opposing team’s fans the more of a fan we are perceived to be. Upper levels are generally louder. That loudness is considered the essence of fan-ness In actuality the behavior can be obnoxious, but many times it even descends to boorishness and rudeness. Its to the point that some people won’t go to games because of the behavior of the “fans.” Here is the first article that popped up with a quick Google search. If the mark of being a fan is acting like an idiot (or a jerk in many cases), then we have a screwed up notion of what makes a fan. My budget puts me squarely in the group that would buy cheap seats, but at some events, I cannot stand sitting with the “fans.”
But this is not just a critique of fan behavior, it is an argument about the claim of real fans being in the cheap seats. The fact is that just because fans in the more expensive seats do not act in the same way, it does not mean that they have any less of the passion for their team. I am quiet at games. Not because I don’t root hard and get nervous and on edge during games –but just because that is my nature around other people. I don’t berate officials (even though they do often suck). I don’t harass other team’s fans. I know many other people who act the same reserved way.
Of course, there are the “suits” who are just at events because they can be, or because their company has seats. There are people who go for status. We know someone who has great season tickets for a team because one of their main business competitors has the same type of seats and they want to keep up. But for every one of them, there are real fans who happen to be able to afford good tickets, and they comport themselves differently at games. The people who act like idiots just expect other people to act like them, perpetuating the myth that the only real fans are those who act like they do. Drinking too much and acting stupid does not make one person a better fan than than another
Having money does not take away team spirit. We have lots of customers who are very wealthy, spend a ton of money on good seats, and genuinely care about the teams and events they attend. Foolish comments like “lifelong fans cannot get a good seats” have to be based on the assumption that people with money are not lifelong fans. In fact, some lifelong fans have so much money that they just buy the team, like the Ricketts family who purchased the Cubs. So the amount of money you have and the type of seats you can afford have nothing to do with the depth of your team pride. Many people who shell out a lot of money are in fact big fans.
So what does this prove? Nothing, of course, except that it is false to say that the real fans are only in the cheap seats. And naturally, this would not be a complete blog post if I did not remind you that at Fanfare Tickets, we can get you both the great tickets and the cheap tickets for almost any event. So if you want court side basketball tickets with the “non-fans” or the get in tickets with the “real fans,” we can accommodate!