The NBA game experience is like none other. I have been regularly attending Phoenix Suns games for going on nine years now and still get amazed with how much effort they put into Game Operations every night.
From the national anthem to the final buzzer, there's rarely a quiet moment to be had. From constant music to the Suns Dancers to the emcee to the timeout games to the kiss cams to every other gimmick you can think of, NBA teams decided a long time ago that more is better.
Because no NBA team can keep today's ADHD fans constantly engaged non-stop for two to three hours because of the stops in play. Minds wander. Smart phones come out. Eyes downcast. Minds wander again. It's not like a movie, that goes non-stop the whole two hours. There's timeouts, fouls, free throws, halftime and on and on.
All those breaks need filler. That's what Game Ops is all about. Music is the easiest filler. It plays non-stop. Some of the songs are oldies, some are new. All are meant to rile you up without offending the sensitive ones. The songs have reverberate with people in their 2 to 92 years old.
The last couple of years, the Suns even employed an in-game DJ. They gave him a corner of the arena and let him spin his records during timeouts to try to rile the fans.
And they have to be constant. It's not about putting on the 3-D glasses, sitting back and watching a ton of non-stop action in a comfy movie theater recliner.
Pro games are about engagement. You have keep people engaged so that when the team is going on a run, or when they need an emotional boost, the fans are there for them.
The term 6th man (in basketball) or 12th man (in football) are a real phenomenon. Fans DO make a difference.
It's been two months now since I've been to a Suns game. So long that I even miss the music, the timeout games, the floor announcer (hey Kip!),
Tom Zenner who would yell at people to get them excited for no good reason (I miss Ced Ceballos!). I miss it all almost all of it.
For those who have attended, what's your favorite "filler" in an NBA game?