Not jing. Not 'roids. Not Fox. Not agents. Not contraction. Not
fantasy geeks. Not autographs. Not stadium nachos. Not scoreboard
dot races. Not even Ahmad Rashad.
Not one of those things is ruining sports in this country like
the hideous luxury box.
To help you understand the deadening effect that soulless luxury
boxes have on sports, take this pop quiz. It was developed by the
Nebraska athletic department. That means any letter you pick is
1. The most common first name of people in luxury boxes is:
a) Colby. b) Cheddar. c) Brie.
2. When the home team is making its furious fourth-quarter rally
to pull ahead by one point, luxury-box patrons are:
a) enjoying their chipotle-rubbed lamb chops.
b) rubbing their lamb-chopped chipotle rolls.
c) facing away from the action, watching it on TV.
3. Which quote is the most telling of the luxury-box curse?
a) John Mobley, Broncos linebacker, after a loss in new,
luxury-box-plagued Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium: "It's not
the same. The crowd used to be our 12th man."
b) Tim Hardaway, longtime NBA star: "There's less noise at games
now. Miami, Atlanta, Denver, places like that. It takes away from
c) Bruce Springsteen, playing the first concert at L.A.'s Staples
Center, where 160 luxury boxes are stacked like cordwood: "Too
many skyboxes in here. It's important for you people in the
suites to come out of your rooms to see a rock show. Mix with the
4. Which of the following results from luxury boxes taking up so
much room in arenas and stadiums?
a) Rows of regular seats are stacked so steeply that knee room is
barely enough for Mini-Me.
b) More seats are packed between aisles, so there's less butt
room; unless you're Kate Moss, your legs and feet will be asleep
by the middle of the second quarter.
c) Because luxury boxes hog much of the prime viewing area, most
other fans are stuck kneecap to backbone, sneaker to hat, in
seats with a view only a mountain goat could love.
5. Owners like the Lakers' Jerry Buss often say, "You can't
compete without luxury boxes." Compete with whom?
a) Bill and Melinda Gates.
b) The Sultan of Brunei.
6. Box envy is a big reason that:
a) historic Cole Fieldhouse was closed in the middle of
Maryland's 84-game nonconference home basketball winning streak.
b) Fenway Park, Lambeau Field and Yankee Stadium are suddenly not
c) Hornets owner George Shinn announced he no longer wanted to
play in Charlotte Coliseum because it was hopelessly outdated.
The arena was seven years old at the time.
7. The thrill and excitement one gets from watching a game from a
luxury box is surpassed only by:
a) a cocktail party at the home of Dick Cheney.
b) a Tupperware party at the home of Marge Schott.
c) a nude Twister party featuring Dick Cheney and Marge Schott.
8. At AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami luxury-box patrons park
under the building or dock their boats at the arena, relax on a
teak-deck patio overlooking Biscayne Bay, dine at the exclusive
Club Chivas, and have full use of secretarial services, DVD
players and stereo systems. So, what is missing from all that?
a) The game. b) The game. c) The game.
9. The sad truth about luxury boxes is:
a) they are the worst place to be for a good game and the best
place to be for a terrible game.
b) they make owners richer and sports poorer.
c) not enough of the people in them get hit by javelins.
COLOR PHOTO: DANA FINEMAN/SYGMA