Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Letter to the No Balls Assocation

Please excuse my rant about a league that does not exist.

I realize that we are elbows deep in the NFL season and approaching what should be the climax of the MLB season, but as an NBA season ticket holder, I’ve got some griping to do.

And no, this isn’t another “how to solve the lock-out” article, because I’ve resigned to the fact that these millionaires and multi-billionaires have no interest in working out a deal and that I won’t be witnessing a professional basketball game this season. This is, instead, an article about how the owners are literally robbing season ticket holders blind, and that there’s nothing we can do about it.

Last February, I decided to invest in the Washington Wizards. I had never been to an NBA game until roughly 11 months ago, but I went to several last season, enjoyed the ride, and decided to purchase two season tickets (along with three friends, because I’m not made of money) for the 2011-12 NBA season. I’ve always wanted to be able to refer to myself as a season ticket holder, and it was more than considerably less expensive than MLB, NFL, or NHL season tickets, so even though there were rumors beginning to circulate that there might not be a 2011-12 NBA season, we decided to go for it.

After all, when we purchased the tickets, the sales rep assured me that we would be receiving 3% interest, effective the day of payment, if there ended up being no season.

Not surprisingly, the guy I made all my arrangements with is no longer my “contact” within the Wizards. If he hasn’t been fired from the organization, he should be, because I got a letter in the mail today informing me that I would be receiving 1% APR interest on a per game basis, which goes into effect each time a game is cancelled.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad my money is being reimbursed, but I paid for my tickets up front, in full, to avoid making any interest payments, and that’s exactly what I’m doing anyway.

For you see, I have debt. I have debt that isn’t exactly being charged a 1% APR interest on a per game basis. And now I owe more on those loans because I was unable to put my season-ticket-money-for-a-season-that-won’t-happen towards my debt.

Allow me to nerd out for a moment to prove my point. The amount I actually paid for the tickets is fairly irrelevant, but let’s say it was $1200. And let’s also say for argument’s sake, that I was, oh, $30,152.89 in debt at the time I bought my season tickets in February, and that I’ve been getting charged 6.8% APR interest on that debt all along. Even if they gave me back my money without any interest right now, and I immediately put it towards that loan, I’d still owe $47.15 more than I would if I had put that $1200 towards my loan back in February when I clearly had that money to spare. And you can trust me on the math behind that; numbers are kind of my thing.

Maybe $47.15 is nothing for you to scoff at, but if you have that kind of money to spare, then congratulations, you’re better off in life than me. But you’d probably be buying more expensive season tickets, at which point you’re being sucked for cash harder than I am.

Even if that $1200 was just sitting in my pathetic excuse for a savings account at 1% interest, it would have at least accrued enough interest by now for me to buy a McDouble (minus the tax).

Is Ted Leonsis giving me a McDouble? How about a French fry? Maybe a voucher for 50% off a beer that’s already being over priced by roughly 2000%? Nope. He’s giving me a “thank you for your continued support” letter signed sincerely with a laser copy of his John Hancock.

What a crock of shit.

I don’t know enough about the stock market to make legitimate interest on my own money, but I know damn well that my season ticket money has been tied up in equities and immunized investments since about nine nanoseconds after they received it. And I’m sure there are other season ticket holders who invested a lot more in the Wizards than me, and that know a lot more about investments than I do. I’m also sure they’re significantly more pissed off than I am that the Wizards have probably already profited a good percentage of what we initially invested, and all we’re getting out of it is our original investment plus what would amount to less than one fourth of one percent’s worth of interest if there were no games this played entire season and they returned our money when the theoretical playoffs would have started.

You know who else takes our money for a year and then gives some of it back without accounting for inflation or what we could have done with it on our own during that span of time?

The government.

And I have yet to meet someone who would voluntarily pay taxes. So tell me, NBA owners, why the hell should we choose to give you our money ever again?

Feeling betrayed,
Kerrance James.

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