Nothing is more entertaining for a true NBA fan than getting an opportunity to watch their favorite team compete and possibly triumph over the competition the league’s best have to offer. With today’s advancements in technology, it has become a lot easier to indulge this time-honored tradition be it from the comforts of our homes, at work or even on the go. Despite the unprecedented access our devices give us, they still can’t quite capture the atmosphere, sheer thrill and enjoyment of a live game. It wouldn’t be overselling it to say that watching a live game is an experience like no other and depending on the nature or the stakes of the game, it could actually be a once in a lifetime opportunity to literally be front and center in witnessing history being made. However, are courtside seats worth it?
Are courtside seats worth it? With the price of courtside seats sometimes bordering on the absurd, one may ask whether, the ear-deafening noise from fans, and the possibility of being hit by a wayward ball or being the landing mat for an overzealous player seeking to keep the ball in play in order to be at the heart of the action is ultimately worth it. The answer to that is simple – an emphatic and unequivocal yes.
We take a look at the history of courtside seats, what determines the value of a courtside seat and how to purchase a courtside seat.
A Brief History of Courtside seats
To say that the NBA has grown in leaps and bounds over the past four decades is an understatement. Back in the 70s, the league was struggling to build up its value and back then, the important thing was getting as many backsides into seats as possible in order to keep the franchises and thus the league afloat.
In the late 70s, courtside tickets to one of the league’s most popular franchises in the LA Lakers cost as little as $15. However, thanks to the league-defining 80s era that saw the emergence of NBA superstars such as Lakers great Magic Johnson and Boston Celtics icon Magic Bird, the league’s value skyrocketed making its tickets arguably the most sought after, difficult to come by and therefore much more expensive.
Presently, courtside tickets to the average NBA game could on the extremely low end cost you at least a few hundred dollars and several thousand dollars on the opposite side of the spectrum. A number of factors usually determine the price and these factors, like the price, often change from game to game and team to team. The record for the most expensive tickets was set in 2017 when a fan paid $133,000 for two courtside tickets.
What Determines the Price
Franchises don’t just arbitrarily slap a hefty price on their courtside tickets, a lot of thought and calculations have to go into arriving at how much they’ll charge for what truly is the holy grail of tickets. The various factors that are considered are but are not limited to these two.
1. The Market
Simply put, this is where a game is being hosted or played. The bitter truth of any sport is the bigger the market, the bigger the demand for tickets. Therefore, courtside tickets for matches including big market teams such as the Los Angeles (Lakers) and the New York (Knicks) are likely to cost more than say courtside tickets for matches including smaller market teams like the Minnesota (Timberwolves) and the Memphis (Grizzlies).
In essence, franchises are not just selling courtside tickets, they are selling an experience to a mostly exclusive clientele who are known to have deep pockets and are not afraid to regularly dig into them if they are getting their money’s worth.
2. Team Popularity
A team’s popularity factors into what they may charge for courtside seats. A good example of such a team is the New York Knicks. Until recently, the Knicks had been through a long rebuild in which they registered consecutive seasons of poor performances that saw them consequently experience a seven-year playoff drought, which ended only last season.
Despite their obvious long-term struggles, the Knicks’ courtside tickets remained among the league’s priciest since the game of basketball is as much a significant part of the city’s culture as Wall Street is. That and the fact that their courtside seats give one the opportunity to rub shoulders with the likes of Academy Award-winning film director Spike Lee.
How well or poorly a team performs also plays a part. Take a team like the Los Angeles Lakers for instance. While the Lakers are a big market team like the Knicks, they’ve generally had more success than their eastern conference counterparts. Therefore, in as much as courtside tickets to Lakers might grant you some level of access to NBA superstars like LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, and celebrities like Jack Nicholson and Snoop Dogg, they may also offer significantly more value in terms of the level of competition since more often than not, the 17-time NBA World Champions feature deep into the playoffs.
How to Get Courtside Seats
Having already established just how coveted and expensive courtside seats are, it should come as no surprise just how difficult they are to come by. These rare gems are mostly acquired in these three ways.
The first, best and most obvious way to get courtside tickets is by purchasing them from league-certified ticketing websites such as NBATickets.com. These sites often provide the safest way to buy these tickets and the fairest prices across the board. They also provide NBA fans with the legal way to get the tickets, if that is of any importance to them.
Courtside tickets could also be purchased from ticket owners who may be looking to resell theirs for one reason or another be it because they may not have the time to attend the game or they may be looking to undo the hasty decision they made by purchasing said tickets in the first place. Purchasing tickets this way is equal to taking a calculated risk but may provide one with the opportunity of getting a good deal if they are willing to engage in a battle of wits with the seller since tickets normally appreciate in value the closer a game gets but drastically begin to lose their value as soon as a game starts.
The final and most ill-advised way to get courtside tickets is through a medium that has been present since perhaps the beginning of time – the black market. Purchasing tickets from this source could be equated to sheer madness since it is basically offering oneself up as the fool from whom their money quickly parts. Black market tickets could at worst be knock-offs of the originals, which couldn’t get you into the arena let alone courtside or at best be priced so absurdly that they could be double, triple or even quadruple their initial price.
This is because a good number of these black market “entrepreneurs” rush to scoop up all the prime tickets as soon as they become available thereby creating an artificial shortage from which they are surely to benefit. These grifters thereafter set a price that suits them, which may even include an exorbitant “service fee” for linking a buyer to the in-demand commodity.