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Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Phoenix Suns are offering money-back refunds

The surprising Phoenix Suns are sitting pretty — if pretty mediocre — at 7-9 right now. Not ideal, just 2 1/2 years removed from being a few games away from the NBA Finals, but the team has piled up half as many wins in a month as some prognosticators picked them to win all year. More importantly, even after sending speedster rookie guard Kendall Marshall to the D-League on Thursday, the team remains entertaining to watch. That's a remarkable achievement, considering the fact that the Suns were forced into dealing Steve Nash to Los Angeles last July.

Still, the team ranks amongst the middle of the NBA pack in terms of attendance; though it should be noted that this was the case even during the Nash era. Looking to make some waves, and earn some press in an otherwise anonymous season on the way toward the lottery, the team has instituted a strange and unenforceable gimmick for its Dec. 6 home game against the Dallas Mavericks.
You'll be entertained, or you're getting your money back. No word on how, exactly, the Suns will determine the level of entertainment in an era that routinely sends "The Big Bang Theory" to the top of the Nielsen Ratings. From the team's press release:
Win or lose, the Suns are guaranteeing that fans will enjoy their experience at US Airways Center. Those who aren't completely satisfied can redeem their ticket stub for a rebate equal to the purchase price of their December 6 ticket, not to exceed the face value of the ticket.
"We believe strongly in the up-tempo, exciting brand of basketball that our team plays every time it steps onto the court, as well as the overall entertainment experience we provide here at US Airways Center," said Phoenix Suns president, Jason Rowley. "We feel so confident in our product that we are willing to offer money back to those fans who leave our arena unsatisfied after experiencing the excitement of Suns basketball."
The team's website tells its fans that merely a returned ticket stub sent via mail to the franchise's office will be enough to secure a check for the full amount of the ticket's purchasing price.
ESPN's Darren Rovell got in touch with the team's marketing department, which recently realized that even crushing close defeats and a looming rebuilding process can't stop fans from enjoying their night out. The Suns learned as much after a tough overtime loss to Chicago earlier this month. Rovell spoke with team president Jason Rowley:
"That's a big part of why we're doing this," Rowley said. "Just because our players don't have huge name recognition doesn't mean we're not fun to watch and can't compete. Sure, people relate to star power, but we believe in the team aspect and we're marketing this team as a team instead of a group of individuals."
"We know there's a risk to this," Rowley said. "But all we're doing is standing behind my product."
In all actuality, there's no real risk. The few chumps that take the time to fill out a form printed off of a website and mail off the ticket stub asking for refunds will more than be made up for by the press the Suns will receive through various outlets, and the influx of ticket sales to see a re-made version of the Suns/Mavericks pairing that delighted us so much in the middle of the last decade. Because honestly, if you're asking for a refund after a pro basketball game — even if it's a one-sided slog-fest of a contest — something's wrong. All of the stuff that annoys fanatical NBAniks like myself — the bombastic music, the nonsense during timeouts and halftime — genuinely excite three-quarters of the crowd to no end.
This is a long way of saying that, yes, we know this is one big publicity grab. But unless Luis Scola lands in your girlfriend's lap, don't attempt to get a refund. Even if you don't care for owner Robert Sarver's penny-pinching, lockout-initiating ways. The Suns work at the sixth-fastest pace in the NBAand they never play any defense. They pass the ball a ton and Michael Beasley is hilarious.
They're worth the full amount. Even if they only win seven more times between now and April.

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