Have you ever wanted to know what it would be like to be right in the action of an NBA game?
Courtside seats put your feet directly on the same hardwood that these elite athletes are running up and down. Your seat is just a couple feet away from the out of bounds line and you’re literally a part of the game as players could come tumbling into your seat chasing a loose ball.
The best players in the world will be dribbling by you an arm’s length away, an errant pass can land right in your lap, you can yell out at your favorite player and they can actually hear you, and you could potentially even be sitting shoulder to shoulder with some of the world’s most famous movie stars and musicians.
Being courtside is an experience you can only get at a basketball game. Comparing it to the other 3 major American sports, at a football game the closest you can get is the front row up a 7 foot wall 20 feet from the players, hockey is behind a wall and pane of glass, and MLB is behind a wall and net another 20 feet from home plate.
With NBA courtside tickets, you’re in the heart of the action. It’s a whole different experience which gives you an appreciation for how big and athletic these players really are.
All of this can be made a reality by purchasing NBA courtside tickets, but everyone knows they’re the most expensive seats at a game. But when we say expensive, how much are we talking, exactly?
Average Price of NBA Courtside Tickets
Courtside tickets generally cost around $1500 at most arenas for a regular season game. That figure isn’t cheap, but certainly not out of reach for most people, either.
However, the cost depends greatly on which athletes or teams you want to see, and the location of the courtside seat.
If you’re looking for front row seats at Madison Square Garden to see the Knicks play in New York City, it is going to be more expensive than watching the Memphis Grizzlies play at home in the FedEx Forum.
The average courtside ticket to a Knicks home game was between $2,650 and $4,600 last year while seeing the Grizzlies play at home was significantly less, around $700.
So why is there such a big price discrepancy between the two? Well, a big market team in New York City has a lot more fans clamoring for these courtside tickets than there are in Memphis. Plus, there’s always the allure of possibly becoming best friends with Spike Lee or Ben Stiller for the night.
Another reason for the broad range of ticket prices is due to the fact mentioned earlier, the athletes performing.
With the hottest ticket you could be close enough to trip Lebron James as he backpedals back on defense after hitting a step back three. On the lower end, you could high five a Sacramento Kings player for making an open layup while they’re down 20. Still pretty awesome, but the former commands a higher price.
Courtside seats are EXTREMELY limited
If you’re wondering why these tickets are so expensive, there are many other reasons than just being close to the action or in ear shot of some of the most famous athletes and celebrities in the world.
The first reason is exclusivity. Most of these seats with your feet on the hardwood are reserved for season ticket holders, celebrity fans, and company executives. That means just a handful per game are actually open to the public for purchase.
Every game there are less than 100 courtside seats (depending on the arena) with maybe 10 actually available for purchase. So on any given night that team has a game you are one of 100 to be sitting courtside at it while 15,000+ watch from behind you in the arena and another 200,000 watch at home wishing they could be close enough to be sweated on by a 7 footer.
This exclusivity and experience is what validates the courtside ticket price versus a regular upper deck seat that can be had for $20-$80 or even a lower level ticket going for $40 to $150 depending on the arena.
Exclusive perks of being a Courtside Ticket holder
Additionally, there are added benefits to courtside tickets besides being the closest to the game. Most include complimentary food and beverages, a special lounge area for halftime and access to concierge services. Also, the chairs are extra-padded unlike a normal hard plastic stadium seat. Lastly, it is almost a guarantee that at some point you will be on TV, even if it is just the back of your head on the team’s local TV broadcast.
Courtside Ticket prices for the NBA Playoffs
If your team is good enough to be one of 16 teams to make the NBA Playoffs then ticket prices go up even higher. The fans really come out for NBA Playoff action which drives the demand way up for these seats. If you’re wanting to secure a floor seat in the postseason, you most likely will have to shell out double the price of a regular season game ticket. For some teams this is a rare event; so in addition to being a part of your team’s history, it could only come around one in every 5 or 6 years.
NBA Finals Courtside Ticket Prices
So now maybe you not only want to sit courtside at an NBA game but you want to sit courtside at an NBA Finals game.
The price will be even more astronomical as this is the ultimate NBA fan experience. Again, price comes down to exclusivity as there are only 4 guaranteed NBA Finals games per year while there are 30 teams playing 82 games per year in the regular season.
Also, the celebrity fans come out in droves for these games, even in the smaller market cities. Not to mention you’re getting a chance to see your team battle for an NBA Championship up close and personal.
Using 2021’s Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks courtside NBA finals ticket prices as an example, these were going for $9,000+ at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. The most desirable center courtside seats breached the $25k mark in game 1.
The stars even came out for this mid-market team as we saw A-list celebrities such as Lil Wayne, Lebron James and even Adele make a rare public appearance attending courtside.
Record Prices For Courtside Tickets at the NBA Finals
Of course, the 2021 season finals prices doesn’t show how crazy things can really get.
In 2019, a fan set a record for paying $100k for two prime courtside seats at the Oakland Arena (formerly Oracle Arena) in game 4 of the NBA finals between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors. That comes to $50k for a single ticket!
Weeks later, ESPN’s Darren Rovell found that one basketball fan had purchased a pair of tickets for game 6 at a whopping $138,574! That’s almost $70k for a floor seat ticket – 30 times the average ticket price and 70 times the cheapest get-in ticket price for that game.
While San Francisco naturally commanded insane prices, ticket prices for the games played at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada were not exactly cheap, with game 5 seeing a pair of tickets sell for $120k CAD ($95k USD) on the secondary market.
Expect the price record to be broken sooner than later, most likely when a big-market team like the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks or Chicago Bulls makes it to the finals.
To close it out, we look back at all a courtside ticket entails and wonder if it is worth the price of admission.
Sitting courtside however gets you more than just the admission, as it is an experience unlike any other getting to see some of the best athletes in the world execute a beautiful game as close as you can possibly get.
You also get to be in earshot of some of your heroes and most famous celebrities, let alone athletes.
Beyond this, you’re treated like royalty for the night getting waited on and having access to a private lounge. If you’re in a financial situation where you can afford to splurge, it is definitely recommended as you really can see the game from a different viewpoint.
It will give you a new appreciation for what these athletes do in their profession and how they are on a different level both physically and skill wise.