Perks of NBA Preseason Play

Image Credit: Getty Images/Noah Graham

The MLB season comes to a close this October, but the NBA season is just heating up. Preseason basketball games have started and fans are getting a taste of what’s to come. 

There are many reasons to attend an NBA preseason game. New acquisitions, rookies and returning players have a chance to test the waters. Which team has the best chemistry? Which players will make your favorite team? Which players will start? How will the top picks perform? Whose body will hold up after recent injury? These are all questions that coaches get answered and fans get to witness unfold during preseason play.

Preseason games are also a plus for those who do not live close to their team’s home arena. For instance, Los Angeles Lakers fans living in Orange County can catch their team play the Utah Jazz next Tuesday at The Honda Center in Anaheim.  NBA-less San Diego residents get the chance to watch both California teams, the LA Lakers and Sacramento Kings, at local Valley View Casino Center October 25.  

Unless you’re a Lakers fan, in which case an average preseason ticket costs more than 24 team’s regular season ticket, you can’t beat the price. On average, regular season NBA tickets will cost you 3-times that of a preseason ticket. Sure, a win doesn’t mean much in preseason play and you may not get to see your favorite players clock considerable minutes; but there’s no doubt you’ll walk away with an experience greater than one-third that of a regular season game.  Take a look at the table below that shows just how affordable a preseason game is compared to a regular season game.

NBA Tickets

NBA Team Avg. Preseason Ticket Avg. Regular Season Ticket
Los Angeles Lakers $132.77 $288.82
New York Knicks $160.13 $256.55
Miami Heat $50.97 $171.47
Chicago Bulls $62.35 $148.17
Cleveland Cavaliers $57.84 $134.34
Oklahoma City Thunder $64.46 $134.12
Los Angeles Clippers $58.88 $130.39
Dallas Mavericks $19.77 $125.34
Brooklyn Nets $77.93 $124.44
Boston Celtics $42.44 $113.27
Toronto Raptors $57.26 $103.20
Phoenix Suns $36.72 $88.40
Denver Nuggets $24.00 $87.30
Indiana Pacers $12.94 $84.91
Washington Wizards $25.64 $83.86
Philadelphia 76ers $29.88 $82.30
Portland Trail Blazers $23.18 $76.63
New Orleans Hornets $10.78 $75.62
Houston Rockets $21.44 $72.82
Golden State Warriors $9.05 $71.81
Charlotte Bobcats $12.68 $68.61
Atlanta Hawks $21.84 $68.48
San Antonio Spurs $14.59 $65.26
Orlando Magic $7.83 $63.54
Sacramento Kings $15.96 $62.13
Detroit Pistons $24.67 $62.00
Memphis Grizzlies $19.01 $60.47
Utah Jazz $16.70 $54.64
Milwaukee Bucks $12.10 $49.61
Minnesota Timberwolves $19.65 $41.76

Another reason fans come out to watch a preseason game is the chance to see a top opponent who will likely contend for a playoff spot.  Below we’ve put together our Top 5 games to attend this preseason including some key matchups of 2012 playoff teams. 

Top 5 Games to Attend this Preseason

5.  Nuggets at Thunder (10/21/2012) – Chesapeake Energy Arena

Cheapest Ticket: $12 (Upper level)

Most Expensive Ticket: $331 (Lower level)

What to Watch: For the Nuggets, newly acquired Andre Iguodala should be a great fit; his athleticism and defensive skills will likely give Durant and his 2012 Conference Champs a run for the Division title. Plus who wants to miss out on seeing just how long James Harden’s beard is these days?  

Image Credit: AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

4.  Thunder at Bulls (10/23/2012) – United Center 

Cheapest Ticket: $10 (Upper level)

Most Expensive Ticket: $260 (Lower level)

What to Watch: Missing a chance to see Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose square off will be especially painful for Bulls fans, but it should be interesting to see if rookie Marquis Teague is up to the task of filling big shoes in Chicago.

3.  Hornets at Heat (10/26/2012) – American Airlines Arena

Cheapest Ticket: $9 (300 Level) 

Most Expensive Ticket: $482 (Flagship Seats)

What to Watch:  Rebuilding is in full swing in New Orleans.  Keep your eye on the Hornets two new rookies- Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers. The No. 1 overall pick and son of Doc Rivers (respectively) are sure to contribute big minutes in the regular season. Plus the Heat added former Celtic Ray Allen, arguably the best three-point shooter in NBA history, strengthening their bid to repeat as Champs.

2.  Celtics at Nets (10/18/2012) – Barclays Center

Cheapest Ticket: $11 (200 Level)

Most Expensive Ticket: $1245 (Suite)

What to Watch: These two should battle all year for the Atlantic Division crown, and this game will give fans a look inside the Barclays Center, the Nets new stadium in Brooklyn. 

1.  Lakers at Clippers (10/24/2012) – Staples Center

Cheapest Ticket: $36 (Upper Concourse)

Most Expensive Ticket: $2988 (Suite)

What to Watch:  The Lakers/Clippers rivalry has grown the past few years after the Clippers acquired CP3 and drafted Blake Griffin. We expect another warm welcome for former Laker, and now Clipper, Lamar Odom. It’s hard to say if you’ll get to see Dwight Howard play; but the Lakers and Clippers will still have plenty of star-power to display.


Don’t forget to check out our Lakers, Heat and Nets Outlooks for the 2012-13 season.

Los Angeles Lakers Outlook

Miami Heat Outlook

Brooklyn Nets Outlook 


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