According to this report via ticket prices data from TiqIQ, NBA Finals ticket prices are down 11 percent overall this year compared to last. This is a bit surprising considering the intrigue of a re-match between the Spurs and Heat, and of course because Miami has stars in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh who are huge draws.
The overall average ticket costs $865 this year, compared to $974 in last year’s Finals. The Spurs have home court advantage this season, whereas Miami held it last year. The extra game in San Antonio is not to blame for the overall price drop, as the drop for Miami games are higher at 13.6% compared to 5.4%.
There could be several reasons explaining this. Logistically, the previous Finals format of 2-3-2 was much easier to plan around. If you were traveling from out of town and wanted to go watch three games in the middle of the series, you could fly to one city and plan your entire trip around those three games. Since the series is now back to the traditional 2-2-1-1-1-1 format, it’s harder to plan ahead for any particular game since it wouldn’t be part of any week long trip. This explains the demand from out of town folks.
For those in San Antonio and Miami, they might be—believe it or not—tired of success. We’ve seen this in other sports. For years, the Atlanta Braves in baseball made the playoffs and only had one World Series win to show for it. After awhile, the stadium was nowhere close to being sold out in the first round because the fans were sick of seeing their team lose. They would wait to see if they actually made it further in the playoffs to show up.
A similar effect may be happening here, where both fan bases may not be jumping at the opportunity to pay for a ticket in the earlier games, and are in fact waiting to see how long the series goes before jumping in for tickets for the decisive games at the end of the series.
And then there’s the simplest explanation: the Finals are an expensive proposition and a particular segment of the fan base simply prefer to watch the games at home versus shelling out all of their disposal income for the in-arena experience.
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