From left to right: center, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, point guard (Andrew H. Walker/ Getty …
Every NBA team populates its schedule with special promotions and giveaway days. In theory, these events entice fans who may not otherwise be interested in paying good money for tickets. If there's a one-of-a-kind bobblehead, or car flag, or special-edition Lite Brite kit, it will hook someone somewhere.
However, after so many years of developing these promotions, teams must investigate new avenues. So, when it came time for the Minnesota Timberwolves to plan their four "Ladies Night Out" events for the 2013-14 season, they turned to an unlikely co-sponsor: HBO and their blog-hit series "Girls."
As noted by former BDL editor and co-host of NBA TV's "The Starters" J.E. Skeets on Twitter Wednesday night, women who buy tickets as part of the promotion will receive, for just $18: an upper bowl game ticket; a free glass (presumably this is code for "plastic cup") of beer, wine, or soda; and the DVD of the first season of "Girls."
It's that last bit that seems a bit odd. While "Ladies Night Out" would probably exist with or without HBO's participation, there is no clear connection between "Girls" and the NBA. Lena Dunham's series focuses on the lives of four privileged young women navigating the early stages of adulthood in Brooklyn. Co-star Adam Driver is quite tall, yes, but he is never seen playing basketball or really doing anything outside of his apartment in the first season. This promotion seems to exist for no other reason than that some women like both basketball and this television series.
In a way, though, that actually makes it a forward-thinking women-oriented sports promotion. As friend of the program Lana Berry discovered when she attended a Houston Astros Ladies Night in late September, these Ladies Nights can often get extremely condescending, presuming that women are incapable of understanding the sport they've chosen to attend without handholding and a presentation reminiscent of Tiger Beat. The Wolves' promo, on the other hand, credits women with the ability to enjoy both NBA basketball and "Girls" without creating an obvious connection between the two. They can like both because they're complicated people with varied interests. It's still a promotion intended to get more women into the game than usual, but the blatant shamelessness of the ploy is actually a step towards gender equality.
Plus, it's not a bad deal. On Thursday's episode of "The Starters," Skeets pointed out that the first season of "Girls" currently retails for $18.65 on Amazon.com. Essentially, the Wolves are offering fans who would buy this product regardless 65 cents to attend a game and drink a cup of beer, wine, or soda.
So let's all meet up at the Target Center on November 16. I'll bring the frank depictions of modern sexuality — you bring the hip soundtrack.
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