The Cleveland Cavaliers took a public relations hit last week when it was revealed they had removed all the drinking fountains from Quicken Loans Arena.
The team said this was done because of fears of H1N1 flu being spread through drinking fountains. A spokesman claimed the team had consulted the NBA about this. But the NBA and the local health department both said they saw no unusual flu risk coming from water fountains.
The Cavs denied this was a conspiracy to get people to buy bottled water, saying fans could stand in line and get a free cup of water at the arena’s concession stands.
Of course, there is always the possibility that after standing in a long line for a free cup of water, a fan might decide he or she was hungry and add a hot dog, a bag of chips or a tub of popcorn to that free water. But a pro sports team would never think of that, would they?
All this got me to thinking about the differences between pro sports and high school sports.
So, here are 10 reasons why high school sports are a better fan value than pro sports:
1. No free agency.
Sure, there are the occasional transfers. But in high school the Yankees can’t buy all the best players.
2. You don’t need to take out a second mortgage to go to the concession stands at high school games.
There are no $5 bottles of water, $7 hot dogs or $9 beers at high school games.
3. No beer is sold at high school games.
Let’s get real. Ninety percent of the obnoxiousness at pro stadiums and arenas is alcohol fueled.
4. No stadium blackmail.
Coldwater wouldn’t threaten to move to St. Henry to get taxpayers to fund a new stadium with luxury boxes. Kalida didn’t get its new gym by threatening to pick up and move the team to Ottoville.
5. The games are close to home.
Unless you’re in an unfortunate league situation like Lima Senior, you’re not going to go through a half tank of gas to get to a game.
6. Ticket prices.
You don’t have to take out a third mortgage to buy season tickets for high school games.
7. Free parking.
Well, except for a few tournament sites that try to add a few dollars to the athletic fund by charging to park. But even then, you’re not paying $10 or $15 for a parking spot.
8. Players don’t charge for autographs.
Actually, high school players almost never get asked for autographs. But sometimes you will see really little kids ask for them. It’s kind of cute.
9. No halftime, sideline or in-the-dugout interviews.
When was the last time you heard a good question or learned anything worthwhile from a reporter sticking a microphone into a coach’s face as his team leaves the field at halftime or as it returns after halftime?
Does anyone remember any halftime interviews, except the ones when the coach lets it show he isn’t happy to be doing this?
10. Television doesn’t get to set the starting times of games.
How many people can stay up to watch the end of World Series games that start at 8:30 p.m.?
Now it’s taking hold in college sports too. Ohio State has men’s home basketball games with starting times of 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. this season. The Buckeyes’ football opener for the upcoming season will be on a Thursday night.
High school games are usually over before 10 p.m.