Mar 19, 2024 - Sports

Why the Wolves leave some Target Center seats empty

An aerial view inside Target Center showing the court, scoreboard and fans

Target Center during last year's playoff series with the Denver Nuggets. Photo: Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Target Center will be packed to the gills Tuesday night as the Timberwolves take on the reigning champion Denver Nuggets. Well, almost.

State of seating: The team blocks off about 1,000 seats on the upper level at each end of the arena, despite plenty of demand for those tickets this season.

Why it matters: This is a good problem to have for the Wolves as Target Center is hopping like it hasn't since the Kevin Garnett era.

Zoom in: The 34-year-old arena was built upside down — there are more seats on the upper level than on the lower level, explained Ryan Tanke, chief operating officer for the Wolves. It was also built on 3.43 acres of land — the smallest footprint of any NBA arena, he added.

  • Simply put, the upper concourses are too narrow to allow for easy movement by fans, and to have adequate food and beverage points of sale to serve them.

What they're saying: "We could make a little bit more money selling a few more tickets, but (it would be) at the expense of impacting the experience of the people who are up there," Tanke told Axios.

Yes, but: The Wolves plan to open those seats back up for the playoffs, when fans tend to arrive earlier. They've also worked to make concession sales more efficient, with self-checkout kiosks that speed up the process.

The bottom line: The funky layout and cramped design have long frustrated Wolves brass. Those frustrations are also going to be front-of-mind for soon-to-be Wolves/Lynx majority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez as they plot a new arena.

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