Have you ever watched a Knicks game and saw different celebrities sitting on the Courtside seats every home game? Spike Lee does not count. Well, those seats have a special name, they are called Celebrity Row. Six top court side seats in Madison Square Garden are reserved for the three most prominent celebrities plus guests. Top celebrities can sit in these seats at any of the Knicks games.
No other basketball team besides the Los Angeles Lakers have these unique big-time seats. Madison Square Garden has a big marketing strategy implented with this specific arrangement:
“If you’re an A-level person and we know the fans are going to go bananas when your picture goes up on the scoreboard, then there’s a value having you there,” said Barry Watkins, the Madison Square Garden company’s executive vice president for communications and administration. “We think it’s a big part of the brand. Win or lose, it’s one of the reasons people come to the games.” (In fact, at 15-26, the Knicks have been doing a lot of losing this season.)
How does Madison Square Garden select these celebrities? Well, the arena has a team that determines who counts as a celebrity, to what degree, and after they go establish relationships with those celebrities and select who is high tier and reject demands from celebrities who are on the lower end.
Depending on the demand, the arena can sit 20 or more celebrities at a time, but the ones who become “friends of the Garden” get a special side entrance, a special elevator, special V.I.P. clubhouse access and more. The trade off is that these “friends” agree to be filmed at their seat on the GardenVision screen during games. Other celebrities appear in interviews and promotional segments during the games on MSG Network.
What an intricate setup they have there. Honestly it is a smart marketing tool and a great way to get fans to come, even if they don’t want to watch the game.
Read more: NYTimes