NBA ticket prices vary from year to year and game to game. If your team mortgaged its present for the future this off-season in hopes of landing a lottery pick in this years loaded draft you can expect the average primary and secondary market price to drop. But if you have a team gearing up to contend for the title this season it will be just the opposite.
In recent years the primary and secondary NBA ticket market lines have been blurred, with consumers simply seeking out the cheapest tickets available. This shift has changed the pricing strategies of several NBA teams. But, if you are looking for the cheapest NBA tickets on the market, look no further. We never charge service fees on our 100% guaranteed tickets. But enough with the shameless plug, and onto the pricing data.
There are several factors that go into NBA ticket prices on both the primary and secondary ticket markets. Here are the most important variables dictating NBA ticket prices.
- Individual Match-Ups (the Bobcats will be at near capacity when the Heat come to town)
- The City (Memphis Grizzlies – Blue collar city, blue-collar prices)
- Quality of the team / Star Power (people pay more to see the greats, i.e. Derrick Rose)
- Legacy / Team History (see Indiana Pacers Ticket Price)
Below is the average NBA ticket price for each team in 2012 (non-premium seats at face value), and the second chart details the average secondary ticket market price change from 2011 to 2012. Using this data we can predict the teams most likely to experience changes in NBA team ticket prices in 2013. (Data compiled from fancostexperience.com and realgm.com)
NBA Ticket Price Face Value Average
Secondary Market Price Change* (Percentage)
TEAM PRICES ON THE DECLINE 2013
This was the off-season from hell for the purple and gold. LA lost Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets, Kobe Bryant is still rehabbing his torn achilles he suffered last season, and Pau Gasol had knee surgery to repair tendonitis in BOTH knees. Gasol could also find himself on the trading block, seeing as the Lakers are over the luxury tax line and owe the Spanish big man $19 million this season. Some Experts have penciled the Lakers in as finishing as low as 12th in the Western Conference. Lakers fan are accustomed to playoff appearances and championships, so its safe to say prices on the secondary market will be lower than face value for the majority of the season.
Celtics GM Danny Ainge made a trade for the ages this off-season, unloading Celtic legends Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (along with Jason Terry) to the rival Nets for some inconsequential role players, future draft picks, Kris Humphries, and the worst contract in the NBA, Gerald Wallace. To say the Celtics are rebuilding would be an understatement, and they are hoping Rajon Rondo will take his time recovering from ACL surgery. The Celtics are accustomed to sell-outs, ranking 5th in capacity percentage last season. But these are dark times for the two most decorated NBA franchises, and the Celtics will likely miss the playoffs for the first time in six years. At least New England basketball fans will be able to watch the C’s at lower prices this year thanks to a diminished product.
Owner Robert Sarver is now the worst in the NBA, taking the crown that was previously held by Clippers owner Donald Sterling. He ruined the Suns chances (and Steve Nash’s prime) at competing for a title in the late 2000’s by cutting costs and letting assets walk in free agency. The Suns had one of the worst rosters in the NBA last season and ranked 21st in capacity percentage (84%), yet they still had the 8th highest average (face value) ticket price. The roster is even more suspect this year, filled with young talent that needs time to develop. The best case scenario for Phoenix is that they are the worst team in West and they secure a high draft pick in the loaded 2014 draft. Ticket prices on the secondary market will have to come down, otherwise US Airways Arena will be empty most of the season.
In the most blatant “tanking” effort in recent memory, the 76ers have compiled the worst roster in the NBA. They traded away star point guard Jrue Holiday this off-season to New Orleans for the injured lottery pick Nerleans Noel (who won’t be ready until 2014) and the Hornets 2014 first round pick. Their roster is so barren that they are below the salary cap FLOOR, meaning if they don’t spend more money this off-season they will have to give the difference to the players currently on the roster. The 76ers average ticket price was already low in 2012, but its safe to say it will drop even lower in 2013 (especially on the secondary market). The future is bright for Philly, but the present is oh-so dark.
Another team who has intentionally thrown their 2013 season for a chance at a top pick in the most loaded draft since 2003 which included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade. Utah elected to not resign starters Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. They also took on three awful contracts in Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, and Brandon Rush in exchange for two first round picks. The Jazz are now comprised of young talent that is still developing, led by first round pick Trey Burke. The Jazz came in at 13th in the league in percent capacity (94%) last season and they actually should be one of the more entertaining teams to watch (even though they won’t win more than 30 games). Nonetheless fans will be hitting the slopes instead of going to games, so prices will drop for the Jazz who have gone from a playoff team to a lottery team.
TEAM PRICES ON THE RISE 2013
The Brooklyn Nets had the greatest change in secondary ticket market price after moving from New Jersey to Brooklyn. They were also bounced in the first round of the playoffs in their first season in their new home in the Barclays Center. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov wasn’t having that, so GM Billy King traded for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry, signed free agent Andrei Kirilenko for far less than his worth, and hired Jason Kidd as the new head coach. If this team gels right, they are without a doubt a top flight team in the East, capable of contending for a championship. What will also be driving ticket prices is the time frame that the talent will be there. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are at the end of their careers with only one or two seasons left to play at a high level. The Nets clocked in at average of 95% attendance in 2012-13, and can expect a spike with this (re) revamped roster.
It still feels strange typing this, but the Clippers are best team in LA and it’s not even close. In Chris Paul’s first full season as a Clipper, the average ticket price jumped 15%. The Clippers have also had more fans than the Lakers at their games in each of the last two seasons, which is expected to continue. This off-season the Clippers added a championship winning coach (Doc Rivers) and two great role players in J.J. Reddick and Jared Dudley. They are certainly a top four team in the West, and with the Lakers likely to miss the playoffs this season, the demand for Clippers tickets will continue to increase and drive up ticket prices on the secondary market.
The biggest winner of the 2012 off-season may be the biggest winner of the 2013 off-season as well. Houston was able to land the most coveted free agent, center Dwight Howard who will be paired with last years addition James Harden, along with Chandler Parsons. Last season Harden became a star and a top 10 player in this league, bringing the Rockets to the playoffs. This raised average face value ticket prices 11.3% from 2011 , and since Howard signed the Rockets have sold 20% more season ticket packages compared to last season. Tickets on the secondary market will likely exceed the face value for the marquee match-ups, but deals will be found for the less desirable games. Regardless, the Rockets have very real championship aspirations, and the team is built similarly to the 2009 Orlando Magic where Dwight Howard dominated inside while being flanked by 3-point shooters.
Golden State Warriors have always had one of the most loyal fan bases in the NBA. Now that the Warriors have turned into legitimate contenders, demand and prices have jumped considerably. The Warriors jacked up prices this off-season an average of 20%, yet have still sold 2,900 season tickets since the end of last season (according to the most recent data). They now have 13,600 season ticket holders, and are looking to cap that at 15,000, leaving 5,00o seats open to individual game sales. The lack of single game tickets available will certainly drive the price up on the secondary market. With Steph Curry, newly acquired Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes, the Warriors young nucleus will bring joy to basketball fans in the Bay Area for years to come.
The Bulls still made it to the second round of the playoffs last season despite Derrick Rose suiting up exactly zero times. Ticket prices on the secondary market dropped more significantly than any other club, but with DRose back this season you can expect the Bulls to be on the other side of the equation. Last season the Bulls raised ticket prices 5%, which also contributed to the steep decline on the secondary market. Despite these factors, the Bulls has the highest capacity percentage in the league last season (104.6). The Bulls are one of a few teams in the East with the ability to take down the Miami Heat, and with a healthy Derrick Rose back, why not?