With the Sixers up in New York this evening to take on the Knicks, the timing of this rather interesting article in the Times about how the staff at Madison Square Garden handles all of the celebrity seating requests is great. They use a super spreadsheet with custom algorithms.
The piece tells of Suite 200 which is a VIP area of sorts where the celebs can enjoy a free cocktail or two, maybe dine on some special dishes, or get an iPhone charging cable from its maître d’. Longtime Knicks fan Woody Allen is no longer welcome in Suite 200.
Why not? Well the Knicks and the Garden don't just allow the celebs to run rampant in the building. They often want something in return. My favorite nugget is that of James Gandolfini filming a recruitment video for LeBron James in character as Tony Soprano:
Others appear in interviews and promotional spots during games and on the MSG Network; attend parties for Garden employees; shoot scenes from movies and TV shows at the Garden; or even appear in recruitment videos designed to lure potential players to the Knicks. The late James Gandolfini appeared in character in two such videos alongside his “Sopranos” co-star Edie Falco, explaining to Amar’e Stoudemire and LeBron James why New York was a good place to relocate. (It worked for Stoudemire, but not for James.)
Clearly an offer he could refuse.