Review of United Center, Chicago, IL

Chicago Bulls versus Portland Trailblazers, February 26, 2010
My daughter and I took in the basketball game at the United Center on Friday. I’m including some of my thoughts (good and bad) on my experience. It’s a fairly good family environment although, according to my experience, there’s certainly changes for process improvements. From my efficiency consultant perspective, I’ve included my input.

Things to work on…

• I guess I parked too close to the United Center as the parking lot attendant asked for $25. Of course, the signage around there is not good so you don’t know how much until you turn into the parking lot. He grunted to me (which is typical of many of those attendants) and actually didn’t speak until I said “thank you” and he said “welcome”. Shouldn’t that exchange had been reversed as I believe I am client?

• Announcers mention who scores a basket but don’t mention who assisted on the play. I know this may be splitting hairs but why not? It certainly wouldn’t hurt and may add to the basketball ambience.

• How often are the restrooms maintained during events at the United Center? You should not run out of hand soap on any one dispenser let alone three during an event at the United Center. Be more customer centric.

• Parking was $25, tickets in 3rd level were $55 each and then there’s a woman in the stands selling raffle tickets for $2. I know half the proceeds go to charity but at some point, you need to watch your wallet.

• Because the game went into OT, most spectators left the United Center right after the game ended which created a traffic bottleneck outside the United Center. Therefore, my daughter and I stayed in our seats to let some of the traffic ease. The usher asked us to “clear the area” less than 10 minutes after the game ended. So much for a fan friendly environment!

• Where are we supposed to go (fan friendly zone) immediately after the game ends when we’re interested in waiting out the traffic? It’s cold outside and it’s 10 pm on Friday night so you’re limited on where you can go. It’s not like there’s an “inside waiting area” for fans to relax for a few minutes after the game.

• Only 70% of the arena was filled even though it appeared to be a sellout. The Bulls are playing well but are we talking about 30% of the fans are “no shows”?

Positive aspects…

• Friday night was the one year anniversary of the deaths of Bulls’ greats Johnny “Red” Kerr and Norman Van Lier. The Bulls organization had a nice tribute at the start of the game. They later had one in the 3rd period. That was a classy thing to do.

• The organization does a good job with entertainment during timeouts and stoppages of play. At halftime, we witnessed wheelchair basketball and during timeouts, we saw water truck racing on the scoreboard, pom pon girls, and other scoreboard entertainment. It certainly adds entertainment value.

• Most fans are well behaved. It appears the organization is very concerned about ensuring the experience is as family oriented as possible.

• The Bulls won the game. They were somewhat careless with the ball (at times) but they’re a young team and their hustle seemed to make a difference.