Two days before the NBA Playoffs begin, we’ve noticed eerily similar storylines to the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Of course there is the best-of-seven format with the higher seed getting home-court advantage (playing Games 1, 2, 5, and 7 if necessary at home). Like the NHL, eleven of last year’s sixteen 2013 NBA Playoff teams are back in the postseason this year. There’s more. The average price of opening round NHL Playoff tickets is $233, the average price of first round NBA playoff tickets is just $3 more at $236 (both saw a decline over last year). Did you notice that three of this year’s sixteen teams are from the Lone Star state (Houston, Dallas, San Antonio)? Well the NHL has a trio of its own in the nation’s second largest state California (San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim). And just like in hockey (Sharks, Kings), two California rivals will go head-to-head in the first round of the NBA playoffs (Warriors, Clippers). We dug just a bit deeper and discovered that the close proximity between neighboring bitter rivals Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins was driving the price of NHL playoff tickets up; same is true with the Texas matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks (4 hours). Last year, San Antonio Spurs playoff tickets in the first round averaged $84, 2014 prices are more than double at $179 (each averaged over four home games). Lastly (can you believe there is more?), just as the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings will face off in the first round of the playoffs after meeting in last year’s second round, so too will the Memphis Grizzlies and OKC Thunder.
Have we set the stage for you? This year’s 2014 NBA Playoffs are sure to get off to an exciting start and yet ticket prices are down 10 percent over last year. In 2013, the New York Knicks had the most expensive opening round tickets; that would have held true in 2014 had the New Yorkers made the postseason. Instead, another big market team is ruling the secondary ticket market; that being Toronto (avg. $337). The cheapest 2013 NBA playoff tickets in the first round were owned by the San Antonio Spurs; one year later, that title is held by another small-market team Memphis (avg. $171). Like the NHL, the Eastern Conference is considered weaker than their West counterparts; but different, Western Conference NBA playoff tickets (avg. $239) are more expensive than Eastern Conference NBA playoff tickets (avg. $234).
- Most Expensive First Round Series: Heat vs. Bobcats (avg. $285)
- Most Expensive First Round Game in Series: Game 7 (avg. $447)
- Most Expensive NHL Team: Toronto Raptors (avg. $337)
- Cheapest First Round Series: Pacers vs. Hawks (avg. $188)
- Cheapest First Round Game in Series: Game 2 (avg. $159)
- Cheapest NHL Team: Memphis Grizzlies (avg. $171)