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Fine, you’ve got to name the place your university’s teams play after the bank or the pizza parlor that paid for it. That’s tacky enough.

But the University of Louisville has taken corporate affiliation to a new level.

Before University of Louisville men’s basketball season-ticket holders started to choose their seats at the new KFC Yum! Center, the university set aside more than 6,000 for corporate sponsors and its own employees, students and friends of the school…

But let’s look closer at the article.

In interviews with more than two dozen [season ticket holders], many complained that they had to pay more to get less — seats higher and further away from mid-court than those they enjoyed at Freedom Hall.

Dr. George Nichols, Kentucky’s former chief medical examiner, said he was so mad at U of L for failing to honor his loyalty to Cardinal basketball that he told his alma mater he would never give it another dime.

Actuary Kenneth Hohman said he was so appalled with the seats available on the day he was to make his pick that he walked out and abandoned the season tickets he had had for 25 years.

“I always thought U of L valued loyalty,” said Hohman, who had asked to buy two seats in the first row of the second tier, “but I guess it’s a one-way street.”

… [A spokesperson] acknowledged that instead of assigning patrons seats that approximated where they sat at Freedom Hall, the school opted to allow people to buy their way into better real estate with additional contributions to the Cardinal Athletic Fund.

As a result, some fans who had supported the basketball program for decades found themselves displaced by Johnnies-come-lately with bigger wallets. University officials said they didn’t know how much fans had donated to procure better seats.

“It is our job to raise money,” [a spokesperson] said, defending the decision. “Certainly people had an opportunity to make additional gifts to improve their position.”…

Nice seat you’ve got there. Pity if anything were to happen to it.

The newspaper finds a sociology professor:

Why is seat selection such a big deal? Jonetta Weber, who teaches a class on the sociology of sport at U of L, where she is also the director of academic services, said that for some, it’s a status symbol.

“We are a society which values economic success, competition and materialism,” said Weber, who hopes to go to a few games with her boyfriend, also a faculty member. “Sitting courtside — or as close to the court as you can get — feeds into those values. We see celebrities courtside at NBA games, and we associate the proximity of their seats to the court with prestige, power and money.”

In fact, “Trial lawyer Gary Weiss … was so angry in May that he threatened to file a class-action suit against the university…”

Margaret Soltan, July 5, 2010 7:26AM
Posted in: sport

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4 Responses to “Yum.”

  1. theprofessor Says:

    Those disgruntled Louisville fans should walk themselves right over here. Courtside seats–no problem!

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Well, but plenty of universities have plenty of courtside seats available, tp…

  3. theprofessor Says:

    OK, they want the real courtside experience? We will let them shoot our frickin’ free throws!

  4. student Says:

    Weber is a snob. Maybe people watch the game and could care less what others think about status seats! Yeah….we know your boyfriend is also on staff…Vainflorious one!

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