As the NBA has grown in popularity in this century, ticket prices have risen accordingly. According to Statista, the average team value in the NBA has spiked from $207 million in 2001 to $509 million in 2013 – a 146% increase. Simply put, people want to watch games, and they are willing to pay more money than ever to do so. The law of supply and demand is hard at work in the NBA, with games like Nicks vs Heat reaching all-time highs for ticket prices.
With season-ticket-holders gobbling up a good portion of the available seats at any given stadium, some have to resort to the secondary market. The drawback: tickets get even more pricey. Well, for high-demand teams, that is. Showing up at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Buck Night won’t exactly break your bank account. But we’re not interested in that; not when there are a number of successful NBA teams charging top dollar for their games.
If you want to sit courtside by Spike Lee at Madison Square Garden, you’re going to pay a pretty penny. Same goes for joining Jack Nicholson at a Lakers game. Even catching a glimpse of the Big Three in Miami will set you back quite a lot through third party vendors. The following list contains the 10 NBA teams with the highest average ticket prices on the secondary market for the 2013-14 season.
10. Toronto Raptors – Average Price: $143
With a huge acquisition, and big name player in Rudy Gay, the team had high hopes early on this season. Although they have not performed up to those expectations, they are still selling tickets at an aftermarket rate of nearly $143 per game, which is about 5% higher than their ticket prices from last season. $334 to watch the Clippers come into town, is the highest you’ll pay for a ticket this season. With playoff expectations high, the team is hoping to make it further than they have in previous years, and look to build on the improvement they hope to see this season. Luckily, even with a losing record, they sit in first place atop the absolutely terrible Atlantic Division.
9. Golden State Warriors – Average Price: $150
The golden state of their uniforms is just one reason to go down to a Warriors game at Oracle Arena. With a better-than-anticipated run in the playoffs last season, fans and the city alike feel as if the home team can make their mark in the NBA this season. In fact, they were one of the favoured teams in the West prior to a few big injuries that took place early in the year. However, the price of $150 per game, which is about a 49% increase from last season, is a sign that the city and fans still believe they are a top contender in the West.
8. Houston Rockets – Average Price: $152
The addition of one of the NBA’s big names in Dwight Howard, has been one factor that has caused Houston’s ticket prices to increase to an average of nearly $152 per game – nearly 60% more than last season. With other names, like Jeremy Lin and James Harden, the team is not only seated as a top contender in the West, but they currently also hold one of the best records in the league. When the Heat visit in March, average ticket prices will jump to about $350.
7. Los Angeles Clippers – Average Price: $165
The high-flying Blake Griffin, one of the best point guards and passers in Paul Pierce, and another high-flyer in Deandre Jordan, means high ticket prices for the LA Clippers. The team also brings in some big movie stars, including Billy Crystal who is often seen at games. Fans who want to watch the team can expect to pay about $165 per game, which is approximately 35% higher than last season. The addition of hall-of-fame coach Doc Rivers, has also sparked some interest in the team that is now considered the favourite in LA, and one that has a chance at success in the West.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder – Average Price: $190
Ticket prices to watch Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook play are in just under $190 on the secondary market. Possibly another favourite in the Western Conference, the Thunder has recently beaten the Pacers, who are one of the top contenders in the East. Prices are up about 14% this year, and to see former teammate James Harden bring his beard back to town with the Houston Rockets at the end of the month, fans can expect to pay about $565.
5. Chicago Bulls – Average Price: $197
It was supposed to be their season; the return of D Rose had the fans and the city rejuvenated. In fact, many believed the Bulls would be the champs again for the first time since the Michael Jordan era. Ticket prices are around $197, which is nearly a 16% rise from last year’s seats. This was namely sparked by the return of Rose, but with his recent injury and the fact that he will be out all season (along with injuries to Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, and Jimmy Butler), ticket prices might see a dip in the near future.
4. Brooklyn Nets – Average Price: $228
No one saw this poor start coming. With three all-stars in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, the team incredibly has only a handful of wins. You could place some of the blame on future Hall of Famer, Jason Kidd, who has proven that great players don’t necessarily make great coaches. However, injuries to Deron Williams, Pierce, and other players including Brooke Lopez haven’t helped the team which currently has one of the worst records in the NBA after 30 games. Regardless of performance, the big names mean a price of about $228 per game this season, an increase of nearly 16% from last year’s ticket prices.
3. LA Lakers – Average Price: $265
Whether you are a Kobe Bryant fan or not, there’s no denying that his recent return from injury has sparked life back into the Lakers. Even with some of the league’s biggest names on their roster, their quick departure from the playoffs last season, coupled with the loss of Dwight Howard and their less-than-average play has caused prices to drop about 27% in 2013-14. Yet, with all these factors, the near $265 ticket price per game still falls in at number three this season.
2. Miami Heat – Average Price: $280
Love them or hate them (like most fans outside of Miami Beach do), the two-time champs own the number two spot on this list. If you want to catch the Big Three of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, the average price this year is about $280, a nearly 54% increase over last season’s tickets. The highest-priced game for the team this season comes against Kobe and the Lakers for nearly $460 per seat.
1. New York Knicks – Average Price: $320
Even though the team has one of the worst records in the NBA after Tyson Chandler went down to injury, the price to see Carmelo Anthony on the court (or get a glimpse of Spike Lee at virtually every home game) is going to cost you. Not only are the prices up about 12% from last season, but the average price for a decent seat (in the 200 section), goes for around $320 dollars per game. Big-name players coming into town will hike up that price even further, and the Knicks hold the highest price-tag for a February game against Lebron James and the Heat, with an average ticket price just under $650.
The major metropolitan cities (and ones that are traditionally known as basketball towns) are going to bring you the most exciting games. Even though injuries have plagued many of the teams on the list (namely the Knicks, Nets and Bulls), it doesn’t detract from the high prices that fans are paying to watch stars from across the association come to town. For the true big-name fan-favourites, tickets may cost nearly double or triple the price of an average regular-season game.
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