Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lakers Fan Jam Experience from a Fans "Stand" Point

(click on photos to enlarge)
My comments are strictly based from my personal experience attending today's (Saturday) Lakers Fan Jam.

Hmm, let me start here. My ticket reads 1:00pm start time so I decide to start my drive from Yorba Linda to L.A. at noon. I underestimated the traffic and got to L.A. at 1:30pm. Frustrating but we (my son and I) were very excited to finally be parked and have the L.A. Convention Center in view. We cross the street and see the area covered with Lakers fans. What an awesome sight.

We get close and then realize there's a line. The line didn't seem that long from our angle until we got closer. The perceived tolerable line grew to an everlasting trail of purple and gold that kept going and going as we walked along side of it. We finally saw it's tail at the front-side of the Staples Center. My mind started to doubt our efforts but I kept calm. You learn to keep calm with an 8 year old who has the words, "Are We There Yet?", in his vocabulary. After being in line for 45 minutes, we reached stairs that led to the entrance of the Convention Center and excitement filled our veins, until we saw this...

...another line that wrapped around the other end of the Convention Center. My heart dropped and my feet began to drag. The hour and a half line was a result of a poorly executed anticipation of fans. At this point I realized I have been robbed. Tickets were cheap, yes, but I would have stayed home if I'd known that the entrance line would take longer than my O.C. to L.A. travel.

Once inside we are greeted with a sea of Lakers fans. Not such an awesome sight this time around. My son at this point was very thirsty so I search for drinks. I find a canopy that sells lemonade and start to walk towards it. As we walk through the endless stretch of people we observe the festivities. It was very cool to see all the different interactive Lakers stations. One that I liked the most was where fans can take pictures with the Larry O'Brien trophies!

Do you see the trophies in the photo? No? Maybe it's because the entrance line had given birth inside. The line to get the photo op with Mr. Larry O'Brien x 4 was at least an hour long from my observation.

I accept the fact that I will not get my chance to meet Mr. Larry O'Brien so I move closer and steal a shot from the side angle before security steps in as you will see in this picture. The trophies look stunning from that close. I could only imagine (or I could have walked into another very long line) how they look up close!

We walk past the dunk contest area of lowered hoops, the Laker Girls signature booths, shooting stations and a loud roar of LUUUUUUUKE! I look towards the noise to see a distant Luke Walton making his scheduled appearance. His line gave me a chuckle because I wasn't EVEN going to fathom the thought of putting forth any effort to participate in another hour and a half long line. All the lines for that matter would've taken the whole day. We pass by the children's jumpers where I was almost tempted to join in as the lines looked refreshingly short. We get to the lemonade canopy and my feet completely stop at a screeching halt when we came around a corner to only witness, yes, another very long line. My son gulps for the far away lemonade stand depriving him of his thirst quench. This was the final straw for me. I look to the nearest exit and walk past the "Exit Only, No Re-Entry" signs to take in a breath of fresh air and call it a loss.

As a Lakers fan I 100% appreciate the thought that went into planning such an event however the execution needed major improvements. As with every other debut of anything, the next edition (next years Lakers Fan Jam) will hopefully present itself with shorter lines and a little better organization to in turn better the experience for the fans.

So, to better my personal experience I decided to erase what just had happened and take a trip to L.A's finest tacos just down the freeway. We were King Taco bound. Yummy!

9 comments :

  1. Yea dude i went to fan jam to and it took at least 2 hrs just to get in. All i did was play pop-a-shot because that was the shortest line.

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  2. LOL, sorry to hear that. I hope you had a good time though. Maybe next year's Lakers Fan Jam will be better organized!

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  3. I also had the same experience. The line to get a autograph was so long, that my wife and I were forced to take turns standing in line so we could take our little cousin to the other activities (which meant standing in other lines). After waiting in the autograph line for over 3 hours, we were told by security that the line we were in lead to nothing! They said the real line (which looked like a huge chaotic crowd of people) was on the other side! Security had to of seen this enormous, half of a mile line we were in hours ago and only now they tell everyone it was for nothing! What a joke. This is the most unorganized event I ever attended. More exhuasting then enjoyable. I really doubt I will return next year unless I hear that these people that planned this event recognized what a failure it was.

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  4. Yes, my family and I experience the same thing. I loved being around fellow Lakers fans but it was the most poorly organized event. We also stayed in line for autographs for almost 4 hours where it ended up to nothing either. We complained to security and any official that would hear us but they all basically said, "sorry, we don't guarantee autographs". They didn't seem concerned either that there were thousands of people behind us who they didn't bother to tell. The ticket prices were cheap but definitely not worth the effort. I really don't see myself returning to this event next year. Unless they at least double the ticket prices (which hopefully will minimize the amount of people) and learn from their mistakes. Sad to say, but it was a complete failure for organizers.

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  5. @ Robert S.

    Man, over 3 hours in line and still nothing? I would've punched the security guard. Those guys have absolutely no clue of what's really going on. They don't care that we were in line for 2 hrs and then in another line for 4. Really sorry to hear that Robert. I'm with you regarding next year. It was truly an unorganized event that will only have me coming next year if they make dramatic changes.

    @ Anonymous

    4 hours?! 3 Hours?! You guys have more patience than I do! Wow, good for you but I'm sorry you ended up with nothing. That would make me furious. Thats actually a great idea, they should double the prices to lessen the anticipated fans. It was a failure and hopefully they will learn from this and make the 2nd Annual Lakers Fan Jam a lot smoother!

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  6. I went to the fan jam and i went to wait in line to take pictures with the trophy while my mom waited in the autograph line. I waited 1 1/2 hours in the trophy line and i went back to the autograph line where I waited for 3 hours to get an autograph. When I was at the front there was a 45 minute delay because no one wanted cheerleader autographs so we waited until andrew bynum and dj mbenga came out. I got their autographs and I didnt want to get in line for anythin else so I left at three.

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  7. Wow, the main consensus of the 1st Lakers Fan Jam was 3-4 hour lines. I thought my experience was bad with 1-2 hr lines but 3-4 hour lines? Man, I don't know how you guys do it. At least you got several autographs in the process but I'm sorry to hear you had to wait in line for so long. I hate lines but understand why we have them. I just don't like the lines that could have been easily prevented by a better organized flow system. Thanks for your comments everyone. Now I know I wasn't the only one who had a bad experience.

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  8. I waited for 3 hours as well. Same Story.

    As a Laker from the age of 6, I love my Lakers. However, this event tainted the Lakers image in my mind. I am really disappointed, angry, and frustrated at the Lakers organization, and I feel like I was ripped off.

    I think you article is a good, but not critical enough of how poorly the event was organized, and their stringent and stubborn no refund policy.

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  9. @ Anonymous

    I'm sorry to hear you had to wait like we all did. I mirror your frustration and emotions. I also feel ripped off.

    LOL...I will be sure to bring out my ugly writing side time. What stopped me from going ugly was the fact the it was 1st Lakers Fan Jam. Typically the 1st generation of anything always leaves room for improvement. In this case, there's PLENTY of room for improvement. If the 2nd Lakers Fan Jam gives the fans a repeat performance I will be highly disappointed. Go Lakers!

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