Kiszla: When the Nuggets jack up price of a season ticket by 83%, is that proof of a loyal fan loving basketball too much? – The Denver Post

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Jimmy Nigg is a bar owner with a basketball problem. He loves the Nuggets too much — and has an unpaid bill of more than $40,000 for the jacked-up price of six season tickets to prove it.
“What’s the justification for raising ticket prices? It’s almost like the Nuggets are trying to push away season-ticket holders, like they don’t want us anymore,” Nigg told me Wednesday.
Nigg, owner of the Monkey Barrel bar in Denver, has been a Nuggets season-ticket holder since the bad old days of J.J. Hickson and Brian Shaw. But this 43-year-old entrepreneur regarded the NBA as a way to bond with his three basketball-loving kids. So he bet on exchanging high-fives with children that are now elementary-school age and gradually assembled a sweet collection of season tickets throughout Ball Arena.
His prized possession are two seats directly behind the Nuggets bench, so close to center Nikola Jokic that Nigg can feel like part of the team huddle during timeouts. While it’s cool to be close enough to reach out and touch the Joker, a loyal Nuggets customer now is beginning to feel as if the joke is on him.
“Denver isn’t Los Angeles,” Nigg said. “But the Nuggets are charging us L.A. prices.”
Although the Nuggets have preached patience while guard Jamal Murray and forward Michael Porter Jr. recover from serious injuries that have kept them off the court, it hasn’t stopped the team from raising the price of Nigg’s seats in Section 146 from $131 to $240 per seat for next season, a whopping 83% increase.
Nigg, who shares tickets with friends and regularly treats clients to games, counts on fans of visiting teams to defray the cost of his basketball jones. He recently received an invoice from Kroenke Sports Enterprises for six season-tickets for next season.
The price? A hefty $41,280.
And the first payment is due Feb. 25.
Gulp.
“It looks to me like fans are paying for Micheal Porter’s new contract, because we all watched the Nuggets do nothing at the trade deadline,” Nigg said.
Although Jokic is doing his level best to carry the team to the playoffs with performances that routinely surpass the work that earned him MVP honors a season ago, the Nuggets took the court Wednesday night in Golden State as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. That’s a scant two games ahead of Minnesota in the loss column for seventh place — a precarious position where no team wants to be, facing the anxiety of being forced to win its way into the tournament bracket before the playoffs begin in the spring.
“The Nuggets want all my money for next season in advance and also want me to pay for the playoff tickets before they’ve even clinched a playoff spot. Those two things are driving me crazy,” said Nigg, whose invoice for the entire script of postseason games for six seats is $22,708.
Yes, the skyrocketing costs of being a hoops junkie is a first-world problem. But as we all emerge from the COVID-19 mess, could maybe the Nuggets show a little more good faith toward loyal customers who had to watch the team’s remarkable march to the 2020 Western Conference finals in the NBA bubble from afar?
“We haven’t even seen Jamal Murray play basketball yet this season and the Nuggets want my money for next season,” said Nigg, who has watched many of the perks of being a season-ticket holder — from the ability to redeem unused seats for future games to valet parking at the arena to meet-and-greet access to players — get eliminated during the pandemic.
I’m just a knucklehead that gets in Nuggets’ home games for free because I’m blessed to have a job as a sports journalist. But it seems to me that taking your loyal customers for granted might be a poor business practice.
“The Nuggets changed the name they call season-ticket holders to season-ticket members,” Nigg said. “Now all I think I’m a member of is the sucker-of-the-month club.”
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