Tickets Rumors

The “Training Day” star appeared on The Bill Simmons Podcast this week to discuss a plethora of topics, including his basketball fandom. Hawke grew up in New York and was a longtime Knicks fan. Eventually, he was able to use his fame and clout to score free tickets from the team. But that changed a handful of years ago when the team fired coach Mike D’Antoni. Hawke was apparently not a fan of the move, and he was publicly vocal about it. Knicks owner James Dolan caught wind of Hawke’s critiques and decided that the actor was no longer worthy of free tickets.
Here’s the transcript of Hawke telling the story to Simmons: Hawke: I’ve been a Knicks fan for a long time, but I got kicked out of the Garden. They won’t give me tickets anymore. Simmons: What are you talking about? Hawke: I’m being serious. I’m being dead serious. I really was vocal on some talk shows like this that I thought it was a huge mistake to let Mike (D’Antoni) go and I would have bet on Mike (D’Antoni) before I bet on Melo. It was not over Melo, but over – there was something genuinely exciting. The first thing that had been exciting since Jeff Van Gundy left in the Garden with the Knicks was Linsanity.
Simmons: Linsanity was incredible. Hawke: It was absolutely incredible in the way that the organization didn’t fan the flames and let Mike do what he wanted to do. Let these guys run. Let them play ball. And instead, Mike’s on his way to the Western Conference Final. And, you know, the Garden’s empty. But I have been left team-less. The point is that I’m not wanted and I don’t go where I’m not wanted. It’s hard to be a fan for a place that doesn’t like you. Simmons: Well, one person doesn’t like you. Hawke: One person who owns (the team) … I called up one night and they said it would be $7,800. I was like, “Oh, um, oh, why is this the first time you guys are charging me?” They said that you should have thought of that before you went on the Jimmy Fallon Show. I was like, “Wow, this is real.” So I’ve apologized publicly many times to try and get my seats again.
That’s an easy way to describe the Pistons’ season-ticket situation in their first season after the move downtown to Little Caesars Arena. In many ways, ticket sales have been better than expected, Pistons officials say. One of their key measures, full-season equivalents — combinations of full-season, half-season and 10-game packs — increased by 3,500, a jump that ranked third in the NBA this season. Group-ticket sales have increased 52 percent over last year, a rise that ranks second in the league.
Those numbers are encouraging signs of an impending uptick, but they belie the eye test of the scores of empty seats during Pistons home games, which have been highlighted on nationally televised games because of the bright red seats. This week, the Pistons, in a corporate partnership with Art Van Furniture, added black seat-back covers to thousands of seats in the lower bowl, easing the visual impact of having empty seats during games, but it still doesn’t fill those seats with fans. Attendance at Pistons games is a complex issue, tied to building a winning team maybe even more so than the move to the $863-million new arena in a partnership with the Red Wings. As many fans and pundits argue that the Pistons are having trouble selling out the new arena, the reality is that it’s not a new issue.