Watching basketball at home or at a bar is an experience, but there’s nothing like watching a slam dunk in person or hearing a crowd of thousands cheer on their favorite NBA team.
However, going to a sports game comes at a price, and it’s not always cheap.
Our new report uses data to determine which NBA arenas are the most and least expensive for fans when it comes to paying for tickets, beer, hot dogs, and parking. We also surveyed fans to learn how inflation is impacting their basketball plans for the 2022-2023 season.
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Cheapest and Costliest NBA Stadiums
Some of the biggest cities in the US are the most expensive to see an NBA game.
The team that cost fans the most is the New York Knicks. For a typical game-day experience, fans will end up paying $261 to see a game at Madison Square Garden. That cost includes a ticket, two beers, one hot dog, and parking.
While a little cheaper than the Knicks, the Brooklyn Nets are still the eighth-most expensive arena to see an NBA game costing fans about $137.
All four California NBA teams ranked among the top 10 list of most expensive game-day experiences. The Golden State Warriors ranked second costing $219. A Lakers game costs $188 on average (third). Clippers games came out to $137 (seventh). And people pay about $130 to see the Kings play (ninth).
Some of the cheaper places to catch a game are mainly in the South and Midwest (aside from Chicago, where the Bulls ranked fifth-most expensive). The place that will get fans the most
bang for their buck is Charlotte. It costs only $67.11 to see a Hornets game. That means you could see almost four NBA games there for the price of just one New York Knicks game.
The Memphis Grizzlies cost only $69 a game (second), Pistons fans pay about $73 (third), a Minnesota Timberwolves game is about $78 (fourth), and Atlanta Hawks fans pay around $79 a game (fifth).
The average NBA fan will pay about $121.20 for the game-day experience. But some NBA fans won’t be paying anything for the 2022-2023 season. In a survey of more than 1,000 people, 54% say they likely won’t attend an NBA game this season because of inflation and costs.
The Cost to See an NBA Game
When looking specifically at ticket prices, the most expensive teams to see a game overall also had the most expensive tickets. Knicks fans drop an average $186 on tickets to see their team. Compare that to Charlotte, where fans only pay about $32 a ticket.
When it comes to parking, finding a cheap parking spot in California or New York isn’t easy. It costs Warriors fans about $45 and Knicks fans normally shell out $38 if they decide to skip public transportation.
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More than 2 in 5 (41%) NBA fans actually do not go to games because of poor parking or traffic. Specifically, we found 57% of Californians have skipped going to a game because of traffic or parking situations.
Fans of the Houston Rockets and Pistons have the best parking. They only pay $8.90 for a spot. Parking for the Timberwolves is about $9, and Denver Nuggets fans only pay an average $9.70.
The best stadium to grab a cheap beer is the Cleveland Cavaliers, where it only costs $4. Meanwhile, the most expensive beer is at Miami Heat games, where it costs more than triple that. Just one beer there amounts to $14.
NBA Plans for the 2022-2023 Season
Despite inflation, more than 1 in 5 (21%) Americans are planning to go to an NBA game this season. About 1 in 3 are planning to go to one or two games, but a devoted 1 in 5 are planning to cheer on their team in person at more than four games this season.
About 1 in 3 say the cost of food and alcohol impacts their decision to go to a game. However, while 1 in 10 (12%) are willing to spend the most money on food at games, 75% drop the most money on their tickets. Looks like many fans would prefer to sit closer to the action rather than up in the nosebleeds.
Overall, nearly half (48%) are willing to spend less than $100 for the full game-day experience. About 1 in 4 (26%) are willing to spend $100-$149, and 26% will spend more than $150 on it.
Aside from going to NBA games, many sports fans also bet on them. Nearly 1 in 3 (27%) have bet on a game, and 29% said they would be more likely to bet on a game if an arena had an in-house sportsbook. More than 1 in 4 (26%) like the idea of sports arenas adding in-house sportsbooks.
While you can always catch an NBA game on TV, there’s something special about seeing players duke it out on the court in real life. There’s nothing like getting to hold your breath alongside thousands of others as players take buzzer-beater shots and the celebration after a nail-biting win. We hope you get a chance to see an NBA game in person sooner rather than later.
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To determine the most and least expensive NBA stadiums, we analyzed data from Team Marketing Report’s 2021-2022 NBA Fan Cost Index report.
In October 2022, we also surveyed 1,003 Americans to get their feedback about NBA games and costs. Survey respondents ranged in age from 18 to 84 with an average age of 39. Of the respondents, 50% were male, 48% female, 1% nonbinary, and 1% transgender.
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