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What it Costs to See a Champion: NBA Finals

October 07, 2016 by Amy and Evan


The rise of both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors over the last two years propelled NBA Finals ticket prices into previously uncharted territory.

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NBA Postseason History


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Team Fatigue

From 2011-14, either the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, or both were in the NBA Finals. Even though a championship is always on the line, eventually the novelty does wear off a bit.

So, in 2015, a matchup featuring the title-less Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry-led Golden State Warriors, was just the breath of fresh air basketball fans had been longing for, as evidenced by the $845 average price on sold tickets, a 64% increase from 2014.

Perhaps surprisingly, the novelty was seemingly already gone by the following year, as despite the Warriors attempting to cap off the best regular season ever with an NBA title, the average sold price for the 2016 NBA Finals rematch rose just 4% to $880.

Championship Droughts

In addition to giving fans a fresh NBA Finals matchup, the championship droughts each franchise brought with it was probably enough to ensure substantial interest to the tune of record-setting average ticket prices.

Until their win in 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers had never before won an NBA title, while the last for the Golden State Warriors was in 1975.


NBA Finals Game by Game


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Odds and Ends

*The 2016 NBA Finals marked the sixth straight year of a LeBron James-led team advancing to the best-of-seven series

*If you attended every home game of LeBron James during the last five NBA Finals (15 games), you’d have paid an average of $641 (or $9,609 total for all home game averages)

*The highest-priced NBA Finals game ever occurred this past season when Game 7 went for $1,557

*Tallying $1,195, the second-highest was Game 5, when it looked like the Warriors were going to clinch at home

*The highest non-clinching NBA Finals contest was Game 2 of the 2015 series at Golden State ($1,017)

*The average cost to watch an NBA Finals game in Silicon Valley is $1,057 (7 games), while in Cleveland it’s $724 (6 games), a difference of 46%


NBA Finals by Game


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