April 13 2005, 6:26 AM
USA Today reporter Greg Boeck traveled to all 29 of the National Basketball Association's arenas and rated each according to value, fan involvement, entertainment, concessions, and parking. The winner? Your Denver Nuggets. Boeck -- who logged 43,020 miles in reporting his story -- gave the Nuggets high marks across the board.
In Denver, club officials aren't taking their fans for granted. It wasn't always like this. When Kiki Vandeweghe became general manager four years ago, he found the team "disenfranchised" from the community. "Our team was very unpopular," he said. "Honestly, I didn't even like the experience at the game." The Nuggets have turned their mission statement -- "to make the fans proud of our team and the games fun" -- into reality. Across the board, Denver scored well in every category -- second in seating, fifth in concessions, sixth in parking and fan involvement and 12th in entertainment. My $55 ticket provided a seat -- six rows off the court in the corner of the end zone -- that I ranked second only in value and location to the seat I had in New Orleans that cost $51 and was an aisle away from club seats priced at $135. The Denver location even included a food server, a major bonus for a seat not in the premium sections. I felt like the calendar had been turned back to the 1980s in terms of what I got for my money.