Washington, DC - The NCAA college basketball tournament is appropriately named March Madness. The craziest people associated with the sport are the University of Kentucky basketball fans. UK Coach John Calipari said so after the SEC tournament final game in Nashville, Tennessee. He stated to the 17,000 to 18,000 University of Kentucky fans, "You people are crazy."
I have to confess that I was one of the crazy people sitting in the stands. Bridgestone Arena seats just over 20,000 and it appeared that only a few hundred people were in the stands to represent the University of Arkansas team. Ticket scalpers who inflate ticket prices by hundreds of dollars are well aware of crazy Kentucky basketball fans and are very glad Kentucky keeps winning.
Tickets on the streets of Nashville were selling from $275 and up, which was the nosebleed section, to over $600 for a seat within eye distance of the actual game. People were buying them and most of the ticket scalpers seemed to be sold out by game time. Fortunately my wife and I had bought tickets prior to our arrival or we would have been out of luck.
I enjoyed the game but caught myself wondering, "How many of these people can really afford $300 to $600 per individual ticket?" Did any of them spend their car payment money? Did any of them spend their grocery money for the week? It would not surprise me if some did.
Kentucky is always in the news as being one of the poorest states in America. Obviously not everyone is dirt poor, especially during basketball season. I wondered if anyone bought soda pop with their food stamp allotment and then sold the pop at half price so they could go to the game. I wondered if anyone had just gotten their federal social security disability allotment money for the month and then spent it on tickets for the game. I wondered if any children would not have lunch money the next week because mom and dad went to the UK basketball game. Surely not people! Some people are stupid but hopefully no one in Kentucky is that stupid. However, I will not bet that it did not happen.
I love Kentucky basketball. I hope they make it to 40 and 0. Hopefully I can figure out how to get two tickets for another game. I'll be there cheering if I can. However, when I see the upper rafter ticket prices for the final four in Indianapolis are over $350 and anything close to the floor is over $1,000 and more I start really feeling March Madness! This is crazy people! This is madness!
How can we stop all this ticket gouging? People everywhere deal with this on some level depending on the event or concert. People buy tickets for $50 to a $100 each and then sell them for $200 to over $1000. Sadly, I don't see it stopping in the near future but I think it should. However, it won't stop unless people stop paying the extra bucks. In my opinion I don't see that people are going to stop.
Drug addicts will do most anything to obtain their drugs. Alcoholics have to have another drink. Kentucky fans define March Madness. They are going to the ballgames and the ticket scalpers are so glad Kentucky is winning. Welcome to the real March Madness.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group, organization or this publication.
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