The organizational level of sporting events around the world is increasing day by day, but what Americans do at NBA matches beats all the ideas of how to organize a perfect sports event! I love you, NY! : )
Starting from the beginning i.e. from the perspective of a fan and a sports events specialist who had been waiting for such an event for 12 years.
The game at Madison Square Garden : New York Knick vs. Spurs – January 2018.
- The tickets were bought half a year before, everything in an electronic version – no paper prints.
- Everyone got an SMS with a valid QR code. Easy, quick, without unnecessary problems!
- Madison Square Garden is located near the Empire State Building,
- The hall decorated with club colors, well-behaved supporters, zero alcohol, the entrances open from each side – zero queues despite the crowds!
Each fan was checked thoroughly as at the airport, a lot of security guards and ticket controllers – men dressed in suits, smiling – happy with their work, but maybe that’s just the typical American mentality.
Access via escalator to the 3rd floor, 1h left to the first whistle … You look around and see a corridor full of restaurants – not hot dog stalls as we can see at the National Stadium in Warsaw. Full catering, you name it; pizza, burgers, sushi and Thai cuisine. Have you forgotten your support gadgets, yet still want to root in the club colors? Go ahead! The first impression of this zone may be associated with a duty free zone at the airport, but not Chopin, only JFK.
We enter the hall zone and see an elderly gentleman in a suit asking for the tickets and escorting every fan to their seat. No rush, I will emphasize once again – no alcohol, that’s just shocking, where am I? Our seats are 10 rows from the court, so taking a picture at close range is tempting but seems impossible at the same time. To our surprise entering the field 5 minutes before the match wasn’t a problem … In Poland, no one would ever agree to that. I wouldn’t agree to it, myself.
The hall is huge, the quantity and quality of the sound system beats every sports event which takes place in Poland, the best artists wouldn’t be ashamed to perform here. For a moment you wonder, if it is really an NBA match, or maybe an opera house or a theater. You are sitting on a wide leather armchair, with a liter of coke in your hand (the smallest American version) and waiting for the show.
Now, it’s time for a minute of professional look:
- A full hall, over one thousand people at the ready for a few hours,
- Everyone dressed in a uniform, well-informed and of good manners,
- The age of the working team 40+,
- Lightening on each level, very colorful,
- A two-level control room,
- There is a stage for the artist of the show behind the backboard, facilities full with the sound system, and LED screens!
- 4 huge LED monitors suspended on the ceiling in the hall, steel structures lowered on winches, inside, 4 smaller ones with a preview of the action on the court (mainly replays). It looks so spectacular that the screens displaying info of the sponsors and partners are definitely more profitable than the LEDs located at the junction of Aleje Jerozolimskie and Marszałkowska streets.
Marketing at the highest international level, and for more demanding customers there are glass boxes on the 5th floor with a view of the court. The financial issue of such an event is rather an obvious thing, as prestige costs. Poland and Polish supporters are not ready yet to understand how sports marketing translates into investment. Let’s wait and see what the future brings.
Another organizational shock accompanying the presentation of the competitors. Do we sing the national anthem in Poland at the club matches? Do we play live music? No, right, but Americans are very attached to their citizenship. Cheerleading performance, multimedia in 3D, excellent synchronization, beautiful women, the whole training staff … probably no need to add more. The only minus – the cheerleaders appeared only 3 times. Before the match, during a 15-minute break and after the match. A bit too little for a 3-hour show. The first action and the ball reaches the basket with grace. Two microphones, a camera and four timers counting match / action time on each basket. There is no slightest chance for a referee’s mistake, although such an opportunity is known to have happened many times. During the action one of the three judges had a different opinion as to the decision, so he asked for the replay, consulted it … the whole action lasted about 5 minutes. The question is what would happen in Poland at that time? Whistles, insults…, and here…? Replays on each of the monitors mentioned earlier, a quiet discussion and finally a unanimous decision.
What else is worth noticing during this match? Excellent implementation and perfect scheduling of every minute of the event. A few breaks with competitions, a t-shirt launcher distributing 100 t-shirt per minute to the fans or pastimes with kiss cameras. One big show, great class, great respect and incredible technical preparation of the whole match.
Throughout your stay at Madison Square Garden you can wonder, if the match is just an addition to this whole event. You don’t have to be a basketball fan to understand that this is a really huge, logistic, technical and most importantly expensive undertaking.
I learnt a lot from this match, felt many positive emotions but also humbleness for my further actions. I’ll definitely go back there soon and I’ll do whatever it takes to get into the backstage and gain professional experience so I can freely say I have worked at Madison Square Garden.