Last season, the New York Knicks commanded the highest ticket prices in the National Basketball Association, or NBA. It actually charged $100 more than the Los Angeles Lakers, with all its Hollywood celebrities and famous people watching the game. New York is New York, and it also has its own share of big name artists. If the Lakers have the likes of Jack Nicholson, the Knicks have the inimitable Spike Lee as one of its diehard supporters.
Plus, the Knicks and the Lakers owned some of the highest payrolls last season, which was why they probably needed to charge more. Then again, it probably depends on the fans’ expectations of the team, as demand usually drives up prices.
Some cities actually have more than one team in the league, which means it could have been more expensive if the city’s loyalty was not divided. Although, it may also be argued that the clashes of teams from the same cities will actually drive up prices during their games because of the extra intensity involved.
So here now is a list of the top 10 cities with the most expensive NBA tickets as of August 20, 2013. Prices may change as the season gets deeper and the playoff picture gets clearer.
10. Oklahoma – $114.64
Oklahoma is the home of the Thunder. The team can trace its roots to 1967 when it started out as the Seattle Supersonics. In 2008, it made a move to Oklahoma. With players like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, the team has become a perennial powerhouse constantly contending for the title. Last year, it won the division title. It plays its game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
9. Boston – $123.93
The numbers speak for the team: 17 NBA rings, 21 conference titles, 21 division crowns and 21 retired jerseys of its famous players. Opposing teams are sometimes intimidated just looking at the rafters of the stadium where all those banners are hung. They became contenders again in 2008, winning the championship that year behind the Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. All three are gone now, but Rajon Rondo is expected to lead the green jerseys of the Celtics. The team plays in TD Garden.
8. Oakland – $128.63
You won’t see a team playing as Oakland in the NBA, as the Warriors use the name of Golden State in the NBA. Its fans are considered as one of the best and loudest in the league, practically willing the eighth-seeded team to a famous victory in the 2007 first round playoffs against the top seeded Dallas Mavericks. The team is now riding the hot hand of Stephen Curry while playing in the Oracle Arena.
7. Atlanta – $143.48
Atlanta is the home of the Hawks, a team that has not won the NBA title in 54 years. As a matter of fact, the last time the team won the crown, it was still located in St. Louis. In the 1980’s, they had Dominique Wilkins, the Human Highlight Film, but the team never got far in the playoffs that was dominated by Larry Bird and the Celtics first, then Michael Jordan and the Bulls later on. In recent years, they made playoffs run only to be beaten by the Celtics, Cavs and Magic. Fans who fill the Philips Arena hope for a more successful run this time.
6. Miami – $151.98
Miami is the home of the Heat, the back-to-back NBA champions. It has the Big 3 of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. It has Pat Riley managing the team and convincing the likes of Ray Allen to play backup in the star-studded lineup. It has a young coach in Erik Spoelstra. Fans can flock to the American Airlines Arena so long as the team has all these talents.
5. Chicago – $159.78
The Bulls will always be known as the team of Michael Jordan, never mind if he had Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson to help him out, with Dennis Rodman even coming along later on. The team has been making noise recently however with Tom Thibodeau. Last year, it gave a good account of itself even though former MVP Derrick Rose was sidelines with an injury. He’s back and this can only bode well for the denizens of the United Center.
4. New York – $167.81
New York has always been known as Knick territory, but last year, the team’s old rival from New Jersey transferred to the city as well. While the Knicks play in Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, the Nets consider Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as home. Both teams are preparing for deep runs and loading up with talents for the forthcoming season, so expect the rivalry to heat up. The Knicks charge $167.81 per game, while the Nets ask for $162.09, which would have been good enough for fifth place.
3. Los Angeles – $171.84
Los Angeles is the battleground of division rivals Lakers and Clippers. While the Lakers are by far the more successful team, the Clippers have made their own claim with players like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Kobe Bryant probably would have something to say about it, but it will be decided on the court with the teams sharing the Staples Center arena. The Lakers currently charge $171.84, while the Clippers ask for $140.63, which would have landed them on the top 10 on its own.
2. Houston – $186.42
Houston has the Rockets and the team has been building up extensively the past couple of years. It traded for Thunder sixth man James Harden and popular Knicks guard Jeremy Lin last season. This year, it got Dwight Howard from the Lakers. The Toyota Center will one day want to host another championship team to go along with the 1994 and 1995 banners.
1. Cleveland – $235.09
Surprisingly, the Cavaliers of Cleveland have the most expensive tickets in the league. After James left the team in 2010, the team struggled and was in disarray. It has tried to rebuild however with players like Kyrie Irving. The Quicken Loans Arena will one day erupt once the city finally buries the memories of James’ departure and Jordan’s last second shot in 1989.
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