The NBA Finals kickoff tonight at 9:00PM ET at Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA, where the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will face off in a rematch of last year’s Finals. Though back-to-back NBA Finals rematches aren’t an extremely rare occurrence, (it’s happened 14 times, most recently in 2013 and 2014 with the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs) it’s a great opportunity to compare NBA Finals ticket prices year over year.
Taking a look at data from the TicketNetwork Exchange, average ticket prices for the 2016 Finals aren’t too different from last year’s. Last season, fans paid $1,071 per ticket, on average, to see the two teams faceoff, while fans are paying an average price of $1,161 to see the teams compete in the 2016 NBA Finals, a difference of only $90.
However, ticket prices to see the Cavaliers play in Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena are down compared to last year, while the average ticket price to see the Warriors play at home is up. In 2015, Cavaliers fans paid $1,063 per ticket, on average, to see the two teams play in Cleveland, but in 2016, that average ticket price has dropped almost $200, to $880.
That’s a stark difference to ticketing trends in the Bay Area, where fans are paying an average ticket price of $1,600 to see Steph Curry and the rest of the Warriors take on LeBron and the Cavs at Oracle Arena. That’s over $500 more per ticket than last year’s NBA Finals, when the average ticket price at Oracle Arena was $1,087.
There is also a vast difference in ticket prices when looking at a game-by-game breakdown between the 2015 and 2016 Finals. Both years, Oracle Arena has hosted games one, two, five, and seven thanks to the Warriors’ home court advantage. While ticket prices remain relatively similar year over year for games one, two, three, and four, there was a stark difference for games five, six, and seven. Ticket prices for games five (Oracle Arena) and game six (Quicken Loans Arena) more than doubled in 2016, and in the case of game six, the average price of tickets almost tripled ($964 in 2015, up to $2,436 in 2016).
While the average ticket price for the 2016 NBA Finals have fallen in Cleveland, there is still plenty of demand, as fans are hoping James, Irving, and Love can bring a championship to a city that hasn’t won a sports title since the Browns won the NFL Championship Game over a half-century ago. The increased price of tickets for games at Oracle Arena can be at least partly credited to the Warriors chance of winning the NBA Finals after finishing the regular season with the best-ever regular season record in the NBA.
With a rematch of the ages about to begin, fans who purchased tickets for any of the games during The Finals are sure to witness a historic basketball series.