Friday, March 18, 2011

Magic Beans Arena

For years, the good people of Sacramento have enjoyed cheering on their NBA basketball team, the Kings, at venerable old ARCO Arena.  Once the price and joy of this town, ARCO has become something of a white elephant – an old, leaky stadium tricked out with exactly none of the luxury suites that are the fountains of profit that warm the cockles of sports owners’ hearts.

ARCO Arena has also been at the heart of the recent flurry of concern about the future of our basketball team. The Kings’ owners, the flamboyant Maloof Brothers, are having all kinds of financial problems with the team and with their other business ventures (including the Palms Casino in Las Vegas);. As a result, and because of the city’s inability to get behind any of the myriad proposals that have been floated to build a new, more modern arena to replace ARCO, they are exploring the idea of moving to the Kings to Anaheim.  Although the Kings would be far down the list of SoCal sports franchises, Anaheim would almost certainly represent a greener pasture than Sacramento for the Maloofs. 

Adding insult to injury for our fair city, ARCO has declined to pick up its naming rights sponsorship of the building.  And so, today, for the first time in its history, ARCO Arena has a new name. The new sponsor is…wait for it!...Power Balance!  Yes, Power Balance, the purveyor of those ridiculously overpriced silly rubber bracelets with pointless holograms embedded in them that have become popular among athletes for some reason.  Sacramento, the Capitol City of the great State of California, now features the most ridiculously named civic centerpiece in the West.

I combed the Power Balance web site, searching for some explanation of what the hell their magical bracelets are supposed to do.  The closest I found was this statement:

The founders of Power Balance™ have always believed in the benefits of various holistic practices and Eastern philosophies and set out to develop a product to more easily and affordably embody these beliefs.

What gibberish! How do you “embody” holistic practices and eastern philosophies in a freaking rubber band!  

If the Kings stay in town, I’m presented with a dilemma. I hate the idea that even a small fraction of my ticket price will go to support this type of pseudoscientific claptrap.  So here’s what I’ve decided to do:  every time I go to a game, I am going to contribute 10% of the ticket price to some appropriate skeptical endeavor, web site, podcast or cause.  In other words, if I’m going to support the idiots at Power Balance, I will also support those who are working to raise awareness of science in our lives, so that maybe someday companies like Power Balance can no longer vacuum money from gullible consumers.

Of course, if the Kings leave, problem solved!

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