Which Cities Offer the Best Value on NBA Season Tickets?

“I try not to remember the price, but it is a fortune.” – Spike Lee, on his courtside Knicks seats

Chase Center
Season tickets to see the Golden State Warriors at the Chase Center aren't the league's most affordable, a new study finds.
Gregory Varnum/Creative Commons

For diehard fans of an NBA team, getting a season ticket can be both a practical decision and a way to take their relationship to their preferred team to the next level. But doing so doesn’t come cheap. In a 2012 interview, Spike Lee — one of the country’s highest-profile NBA season ticket holders — discussed his courtside seats at Madison Square Garden. “I try not to remember the price, but it is a fortune,” Lee recalled.

Not every season ticket holder has seats quite as close to the action as Lee does for Knicks games, but even seats higher up in an arena can still cost quite a bit. This, in turn, begs the question: Are season tickets still something that’s even within the budget of an average local fan? 

The online casino Casumo has analyzed this information, and came up with some interesting findings. Their study, titled “Priced Out,” compares the average monthly paycheck around an arena with the cost of season tickets there. From looking at some of the prices, these seem to be the most affordable season tickets available — they don’t reflect the cost of luxury boxes or courtside seats, but they’re season tickets nonetheless. 

Everything’s more expensive in the Bay Area

The season tickets that will eat up the largest percentage of your paycheck? That would be the Golden State Warriors: the cost of a season ticket will be over 66% of the average monthly paycheck of an area resident. Given the frustrations of the Warriors’ season so far, that’s a lot of money to see your hopes and dreams dashed on a regular basis.

If you live in LA, we advise you to be a Clippers fan

This is probably not a huge shock, but it bears mentioning that if you’re an undecided basketball fan in the Los Angeles area looking to go all in on one of the city’s teams, the Clippers will be the best value for your money. A season ticket there will cost 18.2% of the average paycheck, as opposed to 33.2% for a Lakers season ticket.

The Nuggets offer the best value in the league

The Nuggets are currently having a terrific season; the Nuggets also have, based on this study, the best value for the local dollar. A season ticket can be had for just 11% of the average local paycheck — meaning that you can see games regularly in a way that won’t break the bank, and those games won’t infuriate you based on the home team’s performance. Not a bad combination.

Season tickets in Boston and Chicago don’t come cheap, either

While not quite as proportionately expensive as tickets to see the Warriors, fans thinking of buying Celtics or Bulls tickets should be aware that, relatively speaking, it could be an uphill climb. The study indicates that a Bulls season ticket will cost 37.2% of an average local paycheck, while one for the Celtics will cost 39.2%.

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