With the 2016 NBA Playoffs in full swing, we decided to take a look at some of the more interesting ticket pricing trends for this year’s postseason games, which you can view for yourself with the interactive graph below. Under the graph are the most interesting takeaways we noticed from this year’s postseason.
Difference in Ticket Prices Between Top Tier Teams and Lower Tier Teams
The first tendency we noticed was the difference in ticket prices between matchups featuring at least one top tier team, compared to matchups consisting of two lower tier teams. For example, tickets to see the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics compete in the first round of the playoffs were never listed for a higher average price of $309. And that list price of $309, which was for game six didn’t last long, as ticket prices fell from $309 on April 2 to $211 on April 28.
However, on the other end of the spectrum, tickets for game 7 between the 2015 NBA champion Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers in round two were listed for a staggering average price of $1,455 on April 2. Although there was a decline in prices for the game, with ticket prices decreasing to $969 on May 10, it was still $660 more expensive than the highest average ticket price in the Hawks vs Celtics series.
The Earlier You Buy Tickets, the More You’re Going to Pay (Usually)
Another tendency that was present for most series’ is that the longer ahead of time tickets were listed for a game, the more expensive they were. As games got closer, ticket prices dropped. This trend proved true for almost every series played so far in the NBA Playoffs.
That said, there were a couple of exceptions. Tickets for the first round series between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Portland Trail Blazers dropped slightly after they were first listed, but then rose for games three, four, five, and six. Ticket prices for the series between the Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets took less of a dip than for most series, and ticket prices for game seven of that series actually rose from $360 on April 2 to $428 on April 20, before falling to $280 on May 1.
In some cases, cities in which games were being played in also had an immense effect on ticket prices. This was evident in the two rounds the San Antonio Spurs played in before being eliminated. Taking on the Memphis Grizzlies in round one, the average ticket price for games in San Antonio never rose higher than $268, while ticket prices for the two games played in Memphis peaked at $599 and $585. After defeating Memphis in four games, the Spurs moved on to play the Oklahoma City Thunder, where ticket trends remained similar. The highest average list price for tickets in San Antonio was $590, which was for game seven, while the average list prices for the three games in Oklahoma City all peaked around $700.
Another matchup where ticket prices saw a large difference depending on city was the first round matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Atlanta Hawks. In that series, the average ticket price for games one and two in Cleveland peaked at $289 and $311, respectively. In Atlanta, tickets for games three and four both peaked at $791.
Similar trends can also be found for the first round series played between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks, as well as the matchup between the Toronto Raptors and the Indiana Pacers.