With basketball quickly rising in popularity worldwide in recent years, NBA games have become one of the hottest tickets in town in the United States. Unfortunately, ticket costs can be quite expensive, especially if you’re looking to attend a highly-anticipated game with teams with the gravitas of the Lakers or Celtics. So, if you’re yearning for that live game experience but unwilling to break the bank, it may be time to start looking into ticket options.
Different Types of NBA Tickets
NBA tickets vary depending on many factors, such as the teams playing, seat location, and the stage in the tournament. Given the variety of options available, knowing what to expect when shopping for tickets can be a bit of a guessing game.
So, let’s break down the different types of NBA tickets available and how they can help you save money while getting that competitive NBA fix.
- Some teams give fan club memberships to season ticket holders with additional benefits such as discounts to merchandise and team event access
- Secure guaranteed seats for all 41 home games
- Enjoy exclusive year-round benefits
- Have priority for playoff tickets
- Get the lowest price per game guaranteed
- Range from $30 per game for upper-level seats to $2,000 per game for courtside seats
- Costs are locked in for the rest of the season regardless of the home team’s performance
- Choose only the games you want to watch
- Prices vary significantly depending on the teams playing and the seating location
- It can also vary depending on team performance during the season
- Availability depends largely on attendance
Why Do NBA Ticket Prices Vary?
NBA ticket prices for regular season games vary wildly due to several factors. They include the following:
- The popularity of the team and the opponent
- How good they are during the season
- Seating location
Tickets for cellar-dwelling teams typically cost much less than marquee teams. For example, the balcony seats for Charlotte Hornets games cost around $169, while Lakers games cost as much as $1,000 for the cheapest NBA tickets during the 2022-2023 season.
Sometimes, even losing teams like the Hornets can charge a premium when marquee teams come for a visit. So, it’s probably best to search for the average NBA ticket price by team if you’re looking for the most savings.
The team’s performance during the regular season could also play a role in the ticket prices. During the Knicks Linsanity days, for example, ticket prices jumped for a brief period.
The seat location is probably one of the biggest reasons for the high price of NBA tickets. The closer you are to the court, the more expensive your ticket will be. For example, a seat right behind one of the baskets can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than a middle-row seat in the upper deck.
However, there are some seats in the lower bowl that could cost as much as courtside seats because of its access to VIP lounges and other perks.
Stage in the season
Prices also vary depending on the stage of the season you’re in. Playoff games are typically a lot more expensive than regular season games while NBA finals ticket prices go through the roof.
NBA Game Ticket Cost from Most Expensive to Least Expensive
So, how much do NBA tickets typically cost? Here’s a quick breakdown of the seat locations and average costs for single-game tickets:
1. Courtside seats: These premium seats are located directly next to the basketball court, offering the closest view of the action. The average cost across the entire league during the regular season is typically $1,500. However, if two contenders are playing, such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, expect to pay a lot more for courtside seats. If you’re interested in NBA finals ticket prices, then you’re looking at paying around $22,000 to $110,000.
2. Club seats: These seats are usually located in lower-level sections and offer amenities such as exclusive lounges, in-seat service, and seats with a bit more privacy. They’re also typically the best seats in the house if you’re looking to follow the game as it’s elevated. With the added amenities, these seats typically cost around $1,200
3. Lower-level seats (center court and corner): Also known as the lower bowl, these seats are located in the sections closest to the court but not directly adjacent to it. They’re typically elevated and offer the best views of the game. However, don’t expect access to the lounge for Club Seat holders and other perks. These seats should sit between Club seats and upper-level seats at around $1,000.
4. Upper-level seats: Also known as the upper bowl, these seats are located higher up in the arena and offer a more distant view of the game. They are generally the most affordable seating option. These seats usually cost $300-$500 during the regular season.
5. Balcony seats: Also known as bleachers or nosebleeds, because of how far these seats are from the court, balcony seats are often the cheapest NBA tickets available. They usually go for $100-$200.
Most Expensive NBA Tickets
So, with a bit more understanding of what affects ticket prices, let’s look at how far these factors took regular season ticket prices for the latest 2022-2023 season.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat at the Kaseya (FTX.com) Center
The Heat and the Lakers met in a competitive Finals series back in 2020, so fans are eager to watch the rematch between these two excellent teams. Because of the demand for tickets, prices typically go up whenever they meet during the regular season.
Prices for their December 28 game went to as high as $29,000 for courtside seats and a whopping $150 for the nosebleeds at SRO. These demand-based fluctuations are mainly due to the fact that the Heat’s official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster, uses dynamic pricing which lets them adjust the prices for popular game tickets.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks (American Airlines Center)
Christmas Day games are always a treat to watch. Fans love the chance to see some of their favorite players in action. Luckily one of this year’s matchups was between Los Angeles and Dallas – both teams with their own superstar crowd-pleasers.
It’s not surprising to see that tickets went as high as $19,400 per courtside seat and about $164 for the bleachers.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks (Madison Square Garden)
The Madison Square Garden is dubbed the Mecca of basketball. And since the Knicks have developed into a playoff team this year, the NBA has scheduled a Christmas Day game against the Philadelphia 76ers to give fans something to cheer about.
Knicks tickets are always on the expensive side of things, even during the years they spent at the bottom of the league. And now that they’re actually winning games, tickets have gotten even more expensive, with this game going for around $86,000 for the courtside seats and $207 for the least expensive seats.
Golden State Warriors vs. New York Knicks (Madison Square Garden)
Madison Square Garden’s second entry into this list is a game between the visiting Golden State Warriors and the Knicks.
The home crowd obviously wanted to get a glimpse of Stephen Curry and the rest of the gang from San Francisco, as shown by the ridiculous $20,000 that courtside seats were priced at. Not only that, the entry-level ticket price was also quite an eye-watering $237.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Golden State Warriors (Chase Arena)
Currently the two most popular teams in the NBA, it’s quite obvious that fans want to see the Lakers and the Warriors face off every single time. So, when the two teams were matched up in the Chase Arena for the first time this season, people were willing to pay the premium.
Courtside seats went for as much as $35,000, while the cheapest you could get was around $259.
Least Expensive NBA Tickets
Not all teams have the prestige and tradition of the Lakers or the fanatic fanbase of the Golden State Warriors. Some teams just can’t compete with the Lakers when it comes to ticket prices.
Provided that they’re not rivalry games, the following teams have the cheapest NBA tickets available.
Houston Rockets – with a rebuild in the works through top rookies Jalen Green, Jabari Smith, and Kevin Porter, the Rockets have struggled to sell tickets. This is reflected in their average ticket price of $159, which is one of the lowest in the league.
San Antonio Spurs – similar to the Rockets, the Spurs are in a rebuilding phase after a few decades of being one of the top teams in the NBA. Game tickets, therefore, aren’t exactly the hottest in town at just $157. However, with the franchise winning the draft lottery this year, these numbers are bound to rise in the near future.
Detroit Pistons – as one of the smaller market teams in the NBA, the Pistons are struggling to keep up with the big boys. Because of this, they have one of the lowest average ticket prices in the league at just $153. This is reflected in their attendance numbers as well, which are some of the worst in the NBA.
Oklahoma Thunders – after giving up the talented MVP trio of James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Russel Westbrook, the Thunders have struggled to find a way back to their winning ways in the mid-2010s. This has resulted in the team having one of the worst average ticket prices in the NBA at $148 and some of the lowest attendance numbers. The fact that they play in a small market may also play a part here.
Indiana Pacers – with the Pacers languishing at the bottom of the league for years, it’s not surprising that they have some of the worst average ticket prices in the NBA at $138.
3 Tips for Finding the Best Deals on NBA Tickets
With tickets being as expensive as they are, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few tips that will help you find the best deals on NBA tickets:
1. Buy tickets early or last minute: Purchasing tickets as soon as they go on sale can help you secure the best prices. Alternatively, waiting until the last minute could also result in discounted prices as sellers try to offload unsold tickets. Be aware that this strategy may not work for high-demand games.
2. Choose weekday games and less popular matchups: Weekend games and games featuring popular teams or rivalries tend to have higher ticket prices. Opting for a weekday game or a matchup between less popular teams can result in cheaper tickets.
3. Use reputable ticket marketplaces: Websites like StubHub, SeatGeek, and Vivid Seats often offer tickets at competitive prices. Be sure to compare prices across multiple platforms and look for any discount codes or promotions to get the best deal.
Wrapping Things Up: How Much Do NBA Tickets Typically Cost?
NBA ticket prices tend to fluctuate depending mainly on how much people want to see the game. This means the teams playing, players expected to be on the court, holidays, or even the playoff standing of the home team can play a part in whether bleachers go for $30 or $300.
However, there are ways to ensure that you won’t be feeling bill shock when you suddenly find yourself wanting to watch basketball at the highest level. For true fans, you can get the regular season membership pass which grants you access to all home games, priority seats, and best of all, guaranteed prices. However, this means you’ll have to dole out huge upfront fees for the entire package.
On the other hand, if purchasing the season membership ticket isn’t in the budget for you, there are ways to catch a single-game ticket for a good price if you know where and how to look. For example, you can look at reputable ticket marketplaces, find a game scheduled on a weekday, or choose a game when lesser-known teams come into town.
So, if you’re considering going to an NBA game, it may be worthwhile to research and find out exactly how much tickets cost for each game. Who knows, you may even be able to score a courtside seat for a fraction of the cost!
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.