Of the many entertainment options available in Salt Lake City, the best value may be found in a place that’s recently come to be derisively known as the “Radium Stadium.” That’s where Larry Miller'after all, you know this guy and how he feels about gay movies'puts a basketball team on the floor and lets people in for as little as $9 a ticket. True, those seats are quite a distance from the court, but taking into account the level of the performers, a $9 Jazz seat may be one of the city’s best bangs for your night-out buck.nn
The Jazz play in the NBA, which can boast of having around 350 of the best basketball players in the world. It could be argued that the best of the best in the league are the globe’s very best basketball players, and possibly its best athletes. Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer is probably in that elite class right now, one of the 10 best in the world at what he does. Jazz point guard Deron Williams is easily in the top 50. On nights when teams like the Suns, Mavericks or Lakers come to Zion, two or three of the best on the planet at their particular form of performance are live and in person in the same building at one time.nn
What would the lowest-priced ticket cost to see Anthony Hopkins and Meryl Streep doing live theater together? What’s the minimum you’d have to pony up to get a ticket to see U2 in a live jam session with Jay-Z? Sure, there are plenty of entertainment events around town that get you in the door for under $20 and let you get hundreds of feet closer to the performance than a $9 Jazz seat does. But do you get to see two or three of the very top actors, dancers or musicians in the world at those prices?
Just look at what Miller does with the prices when his building gets turned over to big-name acts that are the musical equivalents of Boozer and Williams. When the Cheetah Girls hit the stage at Miller’s venue in January, tweens (actually, the parents of tweens) had to shell out a minimum of $29.50 a ticket. When Eric Clapton performs there next month, Baby Boomers will have to give up at least $45 worth of prescriptions just to be in the same building as Slowhand. Even another “sporting” event at this venue, Monster Jam Monster Truck Racing, will cost at least $16 a pop when it comes on Friday! Friday! Friday! Feb. 16'though we will surely at some point hear ads touting, “Kids seats, just five buckkkkkks!nn
Miller has said that he always wants to have some cheap tickets on hand so that anybody in the community can afford to go to a game or two. That’s a noble sentiment, but it also makes good business sense in that the Jazz fans of 2020 are grade-schoolers who are hitting a game or two a year with parents who can afford to pay $36 to get ducats for a family of four.nn
There’s no doubt that viewing any sport live is better than seeing it on TV, and the closer you get to the action, the more compelling it becomes. In the case of the NBA, sitting within 50 feet of the court gives you the chance to see just what freaks of nature the players really are. They are the winners of the genetic lottery with impossibly large bodies that they can move insanely fast while performing tasks that require incredible dexterity'and all while another behemoth is shoving them.nn
The ability to see the beauty, power, violence and passion of an NBA game drops off as the rows in the arena rise, but there are still reasons the rafters are better than watching the game on TV. You are high enough to see the way the fast breaks and half-court sets develop. You get to scream your lungs out. You are sitting with other “real” fans, instead of the people in the lower bowl who are mostly there to be seen rather than see the game. The real joy for them comes from being able to tell other people they have expensive Jazz tickets. In the upper bowl, you can celebrate or commiserate with others who truly bleed Jazz blue.nn
Capitol Theatre, Abravanel Hall, In the Venue, Kilby Court, Kingsbury Hall'they’re all great places. But if you want to see the best in the world for under $10, you’ll need to get on over to the “Tox Box.”