Tonight, starting at 5:30 p.m., fans inside the Toyota Center can immerse themselves in a college fantasy: for $5, fans can buy nachos, a hot dog and three beers in an hour window. Or just five beers.
Houston rapper Travis Scott will be performing before tip-off, and things are going to be LIT (I’m less than 30 years old so I can still use that for a few more years).
Houston’s late-arriving basketball crowds are a national laughing stock at this point. Rockets fans have legitimate complaints about the characterization: the lower bowl seats shown on TV are largely reserved for corporate boxes, which means “true fans” are not represented there. Also, Houston is an enormous, car-oriented city, and asking all of its sprawled-out workers to make it to their seats by 7 p.m. is just unrealistic.
So what’s a team to do? Embrace its fan base’s Rowdy nature (see what I did there?) and offer them an unreasonably good price on beer and snacks. What are its fans to do? I have some thoughts:
- Drink responsibly and act in a lawful manner. Be like Patrick Beverley: as irritating/belligerent to opponents as possible within the rules. “Be like Patrick Beverley” is my advice for most life situations.
- Order the food first thing with your beer. The longer you wait on dollar nachos, the worse those nachos will be.
- Assess the line and your drinking speed. Does it make sense to grab your beer and stroll right to the back of the line? It probably does. The vendors might be mobbed. There’s plenty of time to sip/chug and chat with your fellow fans while getting bang for your buck.
- Chumps get in line at 6:25 p.m. There’s no way you’re getting to the front by then. Want one more before the special runs out? Leave a full 10 minutes. Also: if you plan on drinking more beer later on, don’t be shy about stocking up as much as policy allows.
You’ve got to love rooting for a team that incentivizes its crowd with cheap beer and food. It’s basically like minor league baseball but in the NBA playoffs. Houston: show up, be super loud right from tipoff to entice the Rockets to do this again. If you’re still late and the crowd is still quiet, kiss your shot at $1 beer night in the future goodbye.