Thursday, August 11, 2016

I Like(d) My Saturdays

The Bucks schedule was released today, and if nothing else it reinforced the notion that the Herb Kohl era is over.

The Herb Kohl era was reviled by online Bucks fans, but season ticket holders (including the editor of this blog) had it pretty good. The perks were the best in big time sports with huge arena concession credits and an eager customer service corps setting the franchise apart. The on court product was often less than stellar, but that had the happy side effect of keeping ticket prices down.

Lasry & company seem to have other idea. The arena concession perk was cancelled after last season (in fairness, Bucks merchandise coupons were offered in its place) and season tickets have been bumped up 20% or more despite a conspicuous lack of on-court success. (Unless "triple-double in a losing effort" is the new measure of success.)

The Herb Kohl era was notable for a few things, schedule wise, most notably an affection for Saturday home games. Thirteen were scheduled in Kohl's final year of ownership, with previous seasons always notching double digits.

#BucksForest loves Saturday home games. A Saturday morning flight to MKE, followed by an evening Bucks game and Sunday brunch with family made for a great weekend. Throw in the occasional Monday home game and it became even better. The moment that produced this blog's favorite sports photograph of all time happened during the back half of one of those Saturday/Monday doubles.

The current Bucks owners do not love Saturday home games. Only eight of them have been scheduled for the 2017 season, with five happening within the first six Saturdays of the season.

The reason is concerts. The Bucks owners had no qualms about booking Saturdays in October and November because popular touring acts already have their schedules set for those months. 2017 concert schedules (along with UFC, WWE and other tours) are less certain. So, the Bucks owners -- who are entitled to 37.5% of arena revenues for non-Bucks events -- want to keep the Bradley Center available on the most popular concert night of the week.

Surely the Bucks owners would spin this another way. They might say that they are contributing to the culture of the city by leaving Saturdays for something besides basketball. Perhaps they'd point out that Friday night/Sunday afternoon doubles allow families to attend two games without compromising school nights.

Whatever. I liked my Saturdays.

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