The Los Angeles Lakers should play an exhibition basketball game at the LA Coliseum for the 2009-’10 basketball season. Why not? For the victory parade, there were 95,000 fans in attendance at the Coliseum, located on the USC Campus.
This crowd should make the NBA think about an outdoor stadium strategy for select games. If I thought of it today, the NBA staff has probably run it through their minds numerous times. Los Angeles would be a great place to experiment with an outdoor basketball exhibition match or two at a venue that’s not covered.
The NHL successfully staged two outdoor events recently: the Pittsburgh Penguins versus the Buffalo Sabres on New Year’s Day 2008 and the Detroit Red Wings versus Chicago Blackhawks New Year’s Day 2009.
The Final Four 2009 was played in a stadium – covered.
There are challenges to the NBA choosing an outdoor venue for an exhibition match with rainy weather in October or November being the top reasons in almost any city of the U.S. including Orlando and San Antonio. Of course, no one’s going to play in April or May outdoors as the playoff chase and playoff picture finalizes.
So it would have to be October or early November before the start of the season.
Here’s why Los Angeles would be the perfect venue for one outdoor exhibition match.
- October is still normally a fairly dry month. Rain is usually minimal especially during the daytime.
- The city does have 2 basketball teams – remember? The Lakers and the . . . Clippers.
- The match could involve both teams.
- An outdoor exhibition match could also involve a USC-UCLA match-up.
- The LA Coliseum would be option #1 and the Rose Bowl option #2. Both can seat more than 90,000 fans.
- It would give the LA Sports media something to cover at that time of the year other than USC football and the Dodgers disappointing post-season.
- The event would attract a huge crowd.
- Playing it in before the start of the 2009-’10 NBA season would give an extra PR boost to the league.
And there are obvious drawbacks. At the Coliseum, the dates would have to be arranged around USC’s football schedule. Rain does occur at times in LA before the month of December so precautions or contingencies would have to be put in place.
But judging by the turnout for the LA Lakers victory parade, playing an exhibition match at the Coliseum is an intriguing thought.