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Does it actually matter where NBA writers sit?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sirvaliantbrown, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. A bunch of NBA writers have fake-casually mentioned recently that teams have booted them from press row - that they're now relegated to "the nether regions" of arenas and so forth.

    My question: how much does it actually matter? I know how different the game is between the cheap seats and the good ones - I'm a seasoned vet of both. But it seems that the details you get when you're down low - who the coach is yelling at, who's sulking, whether the jump-ball call was correct - never actually make it into gamers. The stuff that does - how fast the pace was, how often the point guard broke down the defense, whatever - you can figure out pretty easily from the nether regions.

    Your thoughts? (Other than that I should use fewer em-dashes?)
  2. buzzerbeater

    buzzerbeater Member

    I do not cover the NBA.
    But from 20-plus years of covering college basketball, the experience is dramatically different from courtside to press seats up high. I have gotten many, many story ideas and tidbits from observing up close.
  3. Orange Hat Bobcat

    Orange Hat Bobcat Active Member

    Baseball, for whatever reason, is best observed from a distance -- something about being able to see the position and dip of the pitches, the infield and outfield alignments, etc. Hockey is the same way. And football, well, it's great on the sidelines but a little impractical at any level above high schools.

    Basketball is different. The same rules apply to being able to see the on-court flow -- that is, you're more able to differentiate from a distance -- but being closer most definitely helps. I've covered the NBA a bit this season and being on the floor is very beneficial. At times, you're even able to hear on-court dialogue (when the promo folks aren't blaring dreck).

    The same thing applies to college. I cover games at four area colleges -- three Division I schools and one Division III -- and get much better stuff if I'm courtside than if I sat back even a few rows. Heck, during Division III blowouts, I've had coaches sidle up to the table and start talking. They were the visiting coaches, of course, which didn't help me too much. (During my college days at Ohio University, press row was stretched across a section high up, maybe 20 rows from the floor. In hindsight, this sucked.)

    So yes, it does matter where basketball writers sit. I just wish we wouldn't bitch about getting sent to the corner.
  4. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    From reading threads on this board I have often wondered about this. I have sat both courtside and far away at college basketball games and both times I have enjoyed my experience.
    From the poster earlier, I agree, you get better stories/questions/tidbits by sitting courtside, but at the same time sitting in the "nose bleeds" gives you a better feel for the offense and defense.
  5. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    i love courtside - hate the rafters.
    courtside you can process a lot more information - a lot of stuff that doesn't show up in the gamer is good for off-day and features

    from above the game flattens out - becomes two dimensional

    on the floor it's four dimensions if you count the personalities

    i wish TV would use more on-floor cameras
  6. GuessWho

    GuessWho Active Member

    FWIW, nosebleed seats for the press are becoming the trend in college hoops, too. It's happening all over the damn place, but the toothpaste is out of the tube and we'll never get it back.
  7. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    The only high-up seats for basketball as good as courtside were the seats in the hockey press box (more like a catwalk) at the old Boston Garden. The new Garden's hockey press box is located somewhere behind Bob Uecker
  8. Norman Stansfield

    Norman Stansfield Active Member

    The point here is you give an inch, they take a mile. Now it's moving writers from courtside to the nosebleeds. What's the next step? How long until writers are no longer afforded ANY access?
  9. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    The catwalk press box at the oLd Boston Garden was a very good place to Watch basketball...much better than the end court tables under the basket where they tried to stick visiting media during the playoffs in the 70s.

    And Norm raises a very good point. It used to matter because we -- the writers -- would fight the teams and/or the leagues for anything that we felt might limit our access.
    We won some battles and lost some but we didn't just sit back and say, oh well, it's no big deal.
    It is a big deal, even if it isn't a big deal (Yogism of the day) because it amounts to teams/leagues etc. controlling and limiting access and that is never a good thing.
  10. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    Sit up top for men's games and on the floor for women's games at the local U. No comparison, the floor seats are much better for hoops.
  11. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I don't think it'd get that bad. Moving press seats upstairs produces a monetary benefit, because they can sell those seats at north of $100 to dumbasses with way too money. Hell, they did it at a D-III game I attended, and while it took some getting used to, I don't think my appreciation for the game was any better or worse than when I'm standing in the corner of the gym at a high school game.

    But removing ANY access for writers and/or TV people hurts them, because whatever financial gain they get for selling those seats is washed out by the subsequent loss of coverage. And you never say no to free advertising, even if it's indirect.
  12. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    i'll take half-way up over baseline any day. hate baseline. hate it, hate it, hate it. syracuse is the worst -- baseline plus sitting behind three rows of fans

    but there is a fallacy in the initial post -- those little tidbits don't often get into gamers, but they are invaluable on a beat and doing your beat correctly. it could end up in print later on in a story or it can help you understand better -- both are very important to a good beat writer
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