Facebook   Twitter   Instagram
Current Issue   Archive   Donate and Support   

Price gouging at Denver’s presidential debate


Denver will take the spotlight early this election season, kicking off this year’s presidential debates with a classic Lincoln v Douglass-style debate on Oct. 3 at University of Denver’s Ritchie Center.

Before you get your hopes up, unless you’re lucky enough to win the lottery (a lottery is open only to DU students for these proverbial golden tickets), you’ll have to wait in the alley. Provided you can keep things civilized, you can reserve a spot on “issues alley.” Here’s a shot to make sure those fat cats pay attention to the real issues facing the country this year.

Ah, but who could forget about the seething masses of journalists, an estimated 3,000 of which are expected to flock to the debate? All media folk are being relegated to “Spin Alley”—but for a price. A quick look at the Debate Rate Card shows that everything (and we mean everything) has its price during election season.

To get a position on spin alley itself, which is being set up in the Hamilton Gymnasium, will cost a cool $353 while the premium real estate on the exterior will cost $400—and that’s only for standing room and a power strip. To get that stereotypical news coverage set up with room for the van and all would run you a whopping $2,081. The presidential suite of media set-ups, however, is the media platform inside the debate hall that runs $5500 (for approved networks). These swanky set ups even include the carpeting. Just don’t forget your wireless Internet access for $175.

As with everything, it’s the details that add up. The Rate Card puts true meaning to the phrase “sold separately.” The standard white-top table runs $20 with some nice burgundy skirting for an extra $10—and just forget about the big boy desk for $300. Now you want a padded chair, a padded chair? That’ll be $15 please. And for those who don’t trust their colleagues’ fashion sense, it’s best to spring for the full-length mirror at $42.

Yes, some prices may be a bit inflated (I’m pretty sure my 42” monitor wasn’t $675), but these journalists must eat like royalty. With a full three-course breakfast of a muffin, yogurt and a fruit cup for $8 and snack prices slightly less expensive than the movie theater, the gouging on equipment costs may seem worth it.

A look at the fees members of the media pay to join the circus gives a bit of perspective on the great cost that is paid for the extensive and some might say excessive commotion and build up to a Tuesday in November. The only question that remains: Is the bang really worth the buck?

Leave a Reply