Only three teams this season saw a drop in ticket prices since last year – the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, and Cleveland Cavaliers. The biggest surprise here is the Cavs who add Andrew Bynum and top draft pick Anthony Bennett to the potent and exciting young core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Walters, Tristan Thompson, and Tyler Zeller.
The average price of NBA tickets increased 45% since last year. With improvement, be it off-season acquisitions, coaching changes, or injured players returning, comes higher hopes, increased enthusiasm, and more interest in a team. All these factors, lead to greater demand for tickets and higher prices on the secondary market.
Entering the 2013-14 season let’s take a look at the NBA teams that saw the greatest increase in average ticket price since last year.
New Orleans Pelicans
Tom Benson, now owner of both major sports franchises in New Orleans, took over in 2012 and has since restored interest in the franchise and established the team’s identity. Benson ditched the Hornets name, one that belonged to the old Charlotte team, and replaced it with Pelicans, Louisiana’s state bird. The affiliation with the team’s “new home” ties the Pelicans to the City after 13 years in NOLA. Not only do residents of New Orleans have a greater connection to the team with the mascot change, but they also have some new members to its roster. Trading their No. 6 draft pick Nerlens Noel to the 76ers, the Pelicans picked up point guard Jrue Holiday. What already seemed like a good deal for New Orleans, just got better … or at least for the short-term. Noel is likely to miss the entire season for the Sixers after rehabilitation for a torn ACL suffered at the University of Kentucky is not healing as fast as the big man anticipated. Holiday on the other hand is coming off his best season, one that included being named to the NBA All-Star team. Jrue was recently voted as the most underrated player acquisition this off-season by the GMs, a move that had many basketball fans scratching their heads as to why the 76ers would give him up. New Orleans also attained fifth-year NBA veteran Tyreke Evans from the Kings. If he can recover from his recent ankle sprain and remain healthy the rest of the season, the former 4th overall pick should greatly help the team’s chances for postseason play. Most importantly, the Pelican’s number one draft choice from 2012 Anthony Davis looks on the verge of a breakout season. This might have sounded crazy 18 months ago, but don’t be surprised to see the Pelicans in the hunt for a playoff berth this spring.
The price of New Orleans Pelicans tickets has increased over 200%. Last year, the average price of a ticket inside New Orleans Arena was $66. Just five days before the season, the average price is $203. The increase moved the Pelicans from the 8th cheapest team in the league entering the 2012-13 season to 9th most expensive. The organization saw the largest spike in average price since last year.
The Rockets were recognized for making the best off-season move, acquiring Dwight Howard. The big man will join swingman James Harden on the Houston roster. Both players topped the charts of their respective positions in the recent GM survey (yes, Harden received more votes than Kobe) and many believe the two can become the NBA’s top inside-outside duo. Now the entire basketball world has an eye on the Rockets and everyone in Houston is especially interested. Will Howard rebound after a drama filled year in Los Angeles? Will he get back to Superman form and meet expectations as the best defensive player in the NBA? How will he gel with Harden who already had the Rockets in the playoffs a year ago? With a supporting cast that includes Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons, Omar Asik and power forward Donatas Motiejunas, the Rockets have a legitimate chance to fight for the Western Conference title.
At the end of July, we predicted that Howard’s arrival would boost the Rockets into the Top 10 most expensive home teams in the NBA; entering the 2013-14 season, Houston Rockets tickets are just that. Averaging $192 at the Toyota Center, the Rockets land at No. 10 in price and saw the second largest percentage increase since last year. Entering the 2012-13 season, the average price of Houston Rockets tickets was $66 which ranked 9th cheapest in the league.
The Pistons made some major moves this off-season and were picked to be the most improved team in the league. Under new coach Maurice Cheeks, Detroit added All-Star forward Josh Smith, point guard Brandon Jennings, former Italian League MVP Luigi Datome, and veteran Chauncey Billups to its roster. Smith will likely have the greatest impact among the newcomers based on talent, but Billups leadership and experience will certainly be welcomed by the young squad. General Managers voted Billups to be the active player who will make the best head coach someday, much respect for the 37 year-old. Jennings is an elite scorer who will contribute in points and assists when he returns from an impacted wisdom tooth injury that will sideline him for the first few games. Let’s not forget that the Pistons also drafted Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tony Mitchell, and both could play substantial roles this season alongside 2012 draft pick Andrew Drummond who is expected to have a breakout year.
The new look to the player roster in Detroit, has fans intrigued. Prices on the secondary market are up 158% since last year, an average ticket price increase of $95. That being said, Detroit Pistons tickets are still priced under the league average of $168, which could prove beneficial to fans in the Detroit area should the Pistons play up to expectations. Last season, Detroit had the sixth cheapest ticket in the NBA.
NBA Tickets: Price Change from 2012-13 to 2013-14 Season
|NBA Team||Avg. Price 2012-13||Avg. Price 2013-14||∆|
|New Orleans Pelicans||$65.66||$203.46||209.87%|
|San Antonio Spurs||$51.99||$118.49||127.92%|
|Portland Trail Blazers||$70.54||$132.36||87.65%|
|Los Angeles Clippers||$120.00||$212.52||77.10%|
|Golden State Warriors||$92.36||$147.38||59.57%|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||$145.18||$217.93||50.11%|
|New York Knicks||$245.64||$319.49||30.07%|
|Los Angeles Lakers||$293.15||$274.71||-6.29%|
Danny Bollinger (NBAE via Getty Images) – Pelicans
Troy Taormina (USA TODAY Sports) – Rockets
Dan Lippitt (NBAE via Getty Images) – Pistons