THE NBA Global Games Philippines was an announced sellout, but how come several empty seats dotted the Mall of Asia Arena during the historic NBA preseason game between the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night?
Organizers announced a crowd of 12,885 for the game - a disappointment by most standards considering the game gathered the biggest collection of NBA stars to see action in this basketball-crazy nation.
That crowd is below the official seating capacity of 13,197 of the Sy-owned arena, which can accommodate close to 20,000 if it releases standing room only (SRO) tickets just like in UAAP basketball and volleyball matches in the past.
How come the NBA crowd fell short of expectations then?
Most of the blame is being pinned on the ticket prices, which went as high as P32,300 for ringside and P50,000 for the so-called 'Jack Nicholson' premium tickets.
That should explain why the most number of empty seats were at the lower box and patron sections, where ticket prices ranged from P27,000 to P32,300.
In contrast, the upper box and bleacher sections, where more affordable tickets ranged from P550 to P8,400, drew a packed crowd.
However, organizers said all the tickets were sold before game day, meaning the tickets for the empty seats were held either by scalpers who probably lost their shirt, or by fans who failed to show up because of the traffic caused by a sudden downpour an hour before the game.
A few people with tickets to the lower box section came noticeably late for the game, with most of them arriving late in the first half.
Several lategoers told Spin.ph they faied to arrive on time due to the heavy traffic caused by flash floods in roads leading to the MOA Arena in Pasay City.