There are free tickets, and there are FREE TICKETS

My dear wife Karen texted me a little past noon Tuesday.

“SU BB tonight?”

I knew the code. Tickets for the Syracuse Orange’s game against Loyola in the Carrier Dome were being offered at Syracuse Media Group? Fast as I could I answered “Tix for us, yes.”

And received back “Sec 122 seats 11 and 12”

I did not go seat-chart searching, being busy blogging and such. Her company — the one that was the big daily when I worked there — gets tickets all over the dome. I knew they were free. I wondered if they were two of the six that we scored one time when I still worked there, when publisher Steven Rogers didn’t wish to go to an early season contest and offered his seats to a group and I happened to be standing next to him in the hallway and said, yes, thank you, sir. Those babies were center court, about a half-dozen rows up from the floor.

These tickets were not those tickets. But they were on the floor of the dome. So down the stairs of the dome we walked. Down. Down. Down. Across the floor to the portable stands set up.

Seats with a view.

Seats with a view.

No, they weren’t Mr. Rogers’ best seats in the house.

But look at the view of the court above, from our seats courtside, three rows from the floor and a half-dozen feet past one of the baskets.

The court behind us.

The court behind us.

You must turn away from the court and take a selfie with the floor behind you as soon as you discover you have seats like this in a basketball stadium that will seat 35,000 people later this season when Duke comes to visit.

Tap off, Syracuse vs. Loyola.

Tap off, Syracuse vs. Loyola.

Seats like this will allow you to use the zoom on your iPhone 6 to capture the opening jump ball.

It wasn’t much of a game, really. It shouldn’t have been, Syracuse of the ACC vs. Loyola of the Patriot League. And when the Greyhounds didn’t score a point until more than 11 minutes had gone by in the contest, Orange fans could breath easier, despite the fact that at 3-1, Syracuse had fallen out of the Associated Press top 25 this week for the first time in five years after losing in Madison Square Garden to California and then barely holding on to defeat Iowa last week.

Coach Jim Boeheim’s squad looked as young as it is. Senior Rakim Christmas and junior Trevor Cooney were solid, as they must be, and Syracuse won 70-37 as freshmen Chris McCullough and Kaleb Joseph continued to improve.

Why Loyola couldn't crack 40.

Why Loyola couldn’t crack 40.

And I got to take pictures closer than I’ll get to the court for a good, long time, I imagine. Now that’s tight defense.

Do you ever get free tickets to events where you work, and if so, what have you seen? What are the best seats you’ve had for an event, and how close to the action were you? Have you taken a really good sports shot at an event, and if so, who was in it and what were they playing?

Fish of Gold

42 thoughts on “There are free tickets, and there are FREE TICKETS

    • I guess MDW K and I have the text shorthand down well. Thank you, Aud. πŸ™‚ My beard has gome through a vanity appointment trim since the selfie. It was a bit gray and scraggly for my liking here. πŸ™‚

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  1. I love your photos! Hmm… my best tickets given to me by a job (besides when I get to photograph concerts) was when I was a paralegal and my boss gave me tickets to see The Beach Boys. The seats were about 15th row. πŸ™‚

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      • Most definitely. πŸ˜‰ With them, if I’m not in the first row, I’m usually back stage or off to the side of the stage taking photos. The bad part is, that kind of spoils me when I want to go see someone I don’t personally know. The first time I took my kids to see Hanson, Jeremy (6 at the time) got angry because Hanson didn’t come off the stage and shake his hand! LOL!

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      • That’s spoiled by the good stuff. I had great seats a couple of times for Elisabeth when she was young and I was writing reviews. When we saw Britney Spears and 98 Degrees from lower level at the state fair grandstand, she turned to me at age nine after the 98 Degrees encore and said, “B.” I laughed! And she was right.

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      • Ryan Cabrera! That’s the name I was trying to think of yesterday when I was writing my original comment to you. I got really good review tickets, and Elisabeth loved him, and her eyes got really big as we walked up and up and up to the seats. Great moment, Rachel.

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  2. The company I work for has a box inside Madison Square Garden. When they’re not “entertaining” clients (what a scam this is) the release the tix to the commoners. You have to be fast but you can score free seats to the Knicks or Rangers or even an occasional concert. It’s the only way I can afford to go!

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  3. My friend Dave and I once took a spur of the moment train ride up to Yankee Stadium to catch a Saturday afternoon game between the Yanks and the Red Sox. As we were about to get in line, maybe a half hour before the game, a couple on Sox gear came up to us and offered us free tickets. They said they had family members who couldn’t make it and they refused to take money for the tickets.

    Mark, we were seated behind home plate in the Red Sox family section! Best seats EVER! Even though we were surrounded by Sox fans, we had a blast.

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  4. Ive gotten lots of free tickets over the years to various events. Some through co-workers or friends that either couldnt go or had extras. Ive also won my fair share from the local radio station. SU basketball, football, Crunch, Skychiefs, concerts. I seem to remember seeing Godsmack at the Landmark Theater with a certain music critic…..who was that guy? Oh yeah it was You!
    I agree with Paul as well. Being a hockey fan, i prefer to sit a little higher up to be able to watch every play with my own eyes instead of watching the jumbotron because your view is diminished.
    I just won a pair of SU basketball tickets vs Virginia in March (section 111 row J) by throwing a bullseye in darts at a tournament. So im looking foward to seeing the same close views youve recently had! Tell Karen hello!!

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    • We had good seats to see Godsmack, too, Robbie. The company was great for me on that one. πŸ™‚ Hockey is better up high. Concerts are pretty good up close if you are willing to stand up. Basketball is very good close up. You should have a fantastic time at the Syracuse-Virginia game. Great bull’s-eye. Enjoy. Karen says hi! Happy Thanksgiving-day after, my friend.

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  5. I used to teach middle school, so I’ve seen more free middle school soccer, football, and basketball games than you can shake a stick at. πŸ˜‰ That’s probably not what you had in mind though, eh? I’m excited for you that you got such awesome seats!

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    • I used to see a boatload of free middle school games when my daughter played on those teams, too, Nerdy! From up close, too. πŸ™‚ Of course they count.

      These up-close seats are once ever five years or so. I got excited to be able to appreciate the size and skill of these athletes. πŸ™‚

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  6. what a fantastic surprise and turn of events, mark. sometimes the unexpected is the best. when i’ve had tickets they’ve been all over the place, and just happy when they were free, but of course even more happy when they were great. (answered from the library’s computer until mine is back on track once more ) –

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  7. My last employer had level 100 seats for our NHL team – the Ottawa Senators – about 3 rows back from the ice close to the red line. Sometimes they were used by HO but when they were available, the company would sell raffle tickets on them for 1 dollar per raffle ticket. The proceeds went to children’s causes like the hospital or clothing funds, etc. (they did similar things with gifts from suppliers). Everyone raved about the tickets but i won them once and my wife and I went (it came with a parking pass etc).The face price on the ticlets were over $200 and i really did not enjoy it. The game was fine but the range of vision that low to the ice was limited. Every now and then we’d see the mushed face of a player who had been checked into the glass, but other than that it was hard to follow the game. I’ve seen games from level 2 (about $80) and level 3 (about $50) and much prefer the iew from either. Level 2 is the best, but even level three is better than the seats we had on level 1 for following the game. I have to be looking down on the game to see the strategy and movemnet of players, etc. That;’s my story and I’m stiickin’ to it. ha!

    Fun post Mark and love the selfie of you and Karen but where’s your trade mark pork pie hat? Oh, neat zoom pictures of the court -I take it that was the i6?

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    • I agree that hockey is a sport that needs some space for the best viewing, Paul. My up high seats in the Carrier Dome for the Syracuse Crunch game, in the 300 section, three days prior, were just perfect. For all the reasons you mentioned!

      Yes, the iPhone 6 with the zoom got me in close for the photos.

      And about the hat, Paul, sometimes the skull needs some air. πŸ™‚ Thank you for your sharp vision.

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  8. Free tickets allowed me to take my son to his first college basketball game last week. Seats weren’t quite as good as yours, but still pretty good. The boy had a great time. A few more events like this and I won’t have to coax him out of cartoons for us to watch basketball together on TV.

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    • There you go, Snoozer. It has started, the transition to lifelong sports bond. Awesome. I have it with my daughter with hockey, her favorite sport to watch live and on TV. It’s a great thing. Enjoy. We also go to baseball games because she played softball through high school, per one of our previous discussions. You are in for some awesome times.

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  9. i used to work at 2 of Melbourne’s largest sports stadiums. So even though I was at work I still got to see and hear great ( and not so great) concerts, football matches and at times athletics events of world standing stuff. I used to work Major events so i got to be at Golf Opens, the Australian Tennis Open etc. I suppose you could call that ‘free’.
    U2 did the same thing in australia 4 years bk like the london post. so there were very happy campers..
    The ( not so) best FREE tkts i got was when i won a competition to see Andre Bocelli when i got to the concert i really thought they would be down front, real close. Ohhh NOOO they were up the back toward the middle ( acoustically not the best seats) . consequently i did not quite enjoy it as much.

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    • Your working posts sound fantastic, orangejade5. Though, of course, I understand that working is very different than FREE. My past job was as a music critic, and sometimes my seats were PRIME. I enjoyed the concerts, yes. But my mind was busier in far different ways than the folks around me, and I never considered the experience as FREE.

      As far as your contest-winning goes, yes, the reality did not meet your expectations. That’s disappointing. With these basketball tickets, when Karen texted the section number I knew they were low, so my expectations were high. But even if she had texted a 300 number for top level, I would have said yes and been happy in my expectations to be where we sit in the heavens for our season tickets for football. πŸ™‚

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  10. Many years ago my kid was heavily into the band U2 and was desperate to see them live. One weekend they were playing in London and though I knew the show had sold out we turned up and hoped to buy a couple of tickets from a tout (a black market seller). What happened was that word got around outside that the band wanted to foil the ticket touts and that they’d made around 50 seats available to genuine fans only. Long story short, we ended up in the VIP box with the band’s friends and family and though the tickets weren’t free, they were priced at the lowest level – result!

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  11. No free tickets for me. Though one of the prosecutors often gives tickets away for OU games. But I’ve never gotten them. Can’t say I’ve ever gotten good shots of sporting events….unless the athletes were six years old. Then, well, I have lots of great shots of them. πŸ™‚

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  12. Hi Mark,
    I’ve never received free tickets to anywhere (hmm….need a new job?) BUT, the best seats we’ve ever gotten were purchased for dirt cheap at a charity auction. Just a few rows up behind home plate at a KC Royals game vs the White Sox. I could see the underwear tag on Salvador Perez’ undies πŸ˜‰

    Cool pics and great seats! I think I watched part of the Orangeman game on TV?

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  13. We don’t get free tickets for our team at work, but discounts πŸ™‚

    Best seats I have had anywhere for a paid event was center court, not much higher than your seats there, for the Harlem Globetrotters. πŸ™‚ Taylor (girlfriend at the time) gave Matthew a ticket to go with her family for Christmas 4 years ago. I knew what they were planning and was invited, so I paid in advance and didn’t think about the seats until we got there. Her father was going blind and decided that he was going to get good seats for this (likely) one-time event.

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    • The Globetrotters is one of the best events I could ever think of to have seats like that to experience, Jeanette, so you could really experience the gags! Wow. That must have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you and Matthew and all!!

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