Tips for going to first basketball game?
February 20, 2012 6:04 AM   Subscribe

Tips for going to first basketball game?

GF and I are looking to go to our first basketball game and I have some questions to prepare. From googling, it seems like getting seats in the side of the court is best.

Will we be able to see from upper sections? What do rows actually mean? Ex) Section 333 Row 1 is closer than Row 8?

EBay is best price for tickets and will those seats be consecutive?

What should we bring?

Finally any tips are appreciated, thanks!
posted by telsa to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total)
What arena? You should be able to find seat chart on-line.
posted by three blind mice at 6:16 AM on February 20, 2012

Will we be able to see from upper sections? What do rows actually mean? Ex) Section 333 Row 1 is closer than Row 8?

Depending on the arena (if you mention where you are going, local people may have very specific recommendations), it can sometimes be better to be sitting in the balcony, since you get more of a bird's eye view of the court and can see the play develop and flow better than you can at a low angle. In every stadium I've ever been to the lower the row number the closer you are to the floor, but I suppose there could be exceptions. In most cases, it seems the rows are lettered, starting at A as the closest row and proceeding to Z (and then AA and so on).
posted by Rock Steady at 6:19 AM on February 20, 2012

For buying tickets, Stubhub is pretty good. You'll be able to definitely get consecutive tickets, and the tickets are guaranteed to be authentic.

Sitting in the upper levels, you'll still be able to see the action, with the best upper level seats being at midcourt.
posted by drezdn at 6:21 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Arena is united center in Chicago, thanks everyone so far!
posted by telsa at 6:27 AM on February 20, 2012

Almost all pro arenas these days have virtual seating charts that give you an idea of the view from your seats. The United Center is among them. Section 333 doesn't look like a terrible place to sit. No matter what level you wind up on, you're right: "sideline" seats are much better than "endzone" seats. The game translates better side-to-side, like you see it on TV, versus up-to-down, which would be your view behind the basket.
posted by moviehawk at 6:33 AM on February 20, 2012

If cost of tickets is an issue, you might wait until right before the game starts and attempt to purchase from the box office or from a scalper on the street.

Also, know that Stubhub seats, while plentiful, are generally fairly expensive. If you wait until a day or two before gameday to purchase you're virtually guaranteed to save some money.
posted by eggman at 6:47 AM on February 20, 2012

Went to a game at the United Center myself last month:


- I'm a big fan of corners as you get the perspective you can't get on sides.

- Even if you don't live in Chicago, try chicago craiglist under "tickets". search for the name of
the teams that are playing. Season ticket holders sell their tickets on there and well e-mail you the tickets with a simple paypal transaction. You will get consecutive seats and you will probably not pay that much (I got it for face, but they were playing the terrible PHX Suns)

-How are you getting to and fro the stadium? Its somewhat hard to get a cab afterwards, but we were told there is a cab stand. The el is not-in-winter walking distance. There is a ton of buses that will take you to the loop.

-If you like one of the teams, wear their colors.

-If it isnt tight, head to the bathroom right before a break-- lines are huge during halftimes.

-Do you know the teams? Watch a game on tv before hand and get to know the players numbers, tendencies. The United Scoreboard only shows numbers of players so its easier to find out how many points they have (I always find watchnig the scoreboard is one of the more exciting facets of in-game basketball.

Have fun!
posted by sandmanwv at 6:49 AM on February 20, 2012

What should we bring?

If you aren't used to indoor sporting events, I would suggest bring earplugs, just in case. Those places can be loud as hell.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:06 AM on February 20, 2012

What should we bring?

Perhaps more importantly, what you can't bring in: a backpack of any kind or (as with most arenas) any outside food or drink!
posted by eggman at 8:08 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Avoid Craigslist and use Stubhub as a last resort. Go to the Bulls web site and use the ticket exchange. That's where season ticket holders dump their unwanted tickets. Totally legit, no worries, and usually a great bargain compared to scalped tickets.

These are typically available at face value, and depending on the game anywhere from two days to several weeks ahead of the game. For example there are plenty of seats for the 10th against the Jazz starting at $47.50
posted by Gungho at 8:21 AM on February 20, 2012

The game moves so much faster live than it does on tv. Try to actively keep track of which players are on the floor, who's scoring lots, etc because you won't have the play by play guy to tell you these things.

No matter where you sit it will be a better experience than watching on tv. Have fun, NBA ball is great live.

Oh, and for the love of god don't try to start the wave. But do stand up and cheer.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 9:27 AM on February 20, 2012

What should we bring?

Lots and lots of money. Concessions are expensive.
posted by gyc at 1:22 PM on February 20, 2012

We went to see a game there last season. My cousin was lucky enough to get seats to the second (200) level, which is kind of like a club level, where they have waiters that take your food/drink orders and bring it out to you, which, while not cheap, was pretty awesome for what was essentially a one time splash out kind of night.

Seconding the corner, if you can swing it. We had a great view of the game, and could see the plays as they unfolded, being able to see the court lengthwise and side to side really adds to that. With the defense the bulls are playing, you'll be able to see how the team works together to limit the other team's options on offense. When the bulls have the ball, try to watch how the players are moving off the ball. They recently played a game where they recorded 27 assists on 30 made baskets, which is pretty rare in the nba.

In addition to the lack of an announcer, you'll need to pay active attention because you'll quickly see just how fast the players are. If Rose is healthy by the time you see them, you'll be stunned by his speed. Even dribbling the ball up the court, he still moves faster than people should be able to. And then when he lowers his shoulder and drives to the hoop, he somehow becomes even faster. You're almost certain to have a good time, they bulls are a delight to watch this year.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:21 PM on February 20, 2012

I've sat in the 300 level at the United Center for Bulls games many times. You'll definitely be able to see everything.

Other tips and things to know:
-If you aren't planning to drink alcohol at the game, definitely go to one of the Guest Relations booths and sign up as a designated driver. You'll get a coupon for a free pop at the concession stand.

-If you're going on one of the promotional dates, make sure you get there really early so you can make sure to get whatever it is that's being given away.

-There are several different bands that play on the 100 and 300 levels before gametime.

-The Bulls' 6 championship trophies are on display across from Fandemonium (the big souvenir shop - called Bull Market for Bulls games). It can get crowded there but they're worth a look.

-Speaking of souvenirs, they are mostly very expensive but if you're interested, there are some really good deals on the racks in the back of Fandemonium. One of the things they were selling (at least as of last week) was a reusable Bulls tote stuffed full of Bulls and Blackhawks tchotchkes. Granted, some of it was from past seasons (such as a Ben Gordon hat and a Blackhawks Stanley Cup finals program from 2010) but for $20, not a bad deal.

The Bulls are lots of fun to watch this season - you will have a good time!
posted by SisterHavana at 2:55 PM on February 20, 2012

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