The NBA is back… Not that it ever leaves us for too long. The regular season started in October and goes through April, with the playoffs lasting into June. If you’ve never been to an NBA game live and in person, now is as good a time as any to cross it off your bucket list! It’s still early in the season and tickets are cheap. Whether you’ve got an NBA team near you or you’re hoping to travel across the country to check out some of the biggest names in professional basketball, here are our tips for your first time… and a few things to expect at an NBA game!
Get there early.
The perks are obvious. Avoiding the crowds, getting your drinks and snacks without waiting in line, and finding your seat comfortably without pushing and elbowing people out of your way. And you won’t miss any of the actual game because, after all, you’re paying for that action. But also, there might be swag. Bobbleheads, t-shirts, and team merch, all for free if you’re one of the first whatever number of people to arrive. Before game time, you can also get closer to the court and check out the team as they warm up and even take some pics… sometimes with the cheerleaders. Aim to arrive about an hour early (because you’ll most likely be a little late anyway).
Avoid parking if you can.
Assuming you’re not a season ticket holder with parking passes, it’s easier to get there early if you can avoid the whole parking fiasco altogether. Save money and come via public transportation. Do your research ahead of time to figure out the best routes and stops that get you closest to the stadium. Or just take an Uber.
Learn a little about “your” team.
Even if you’re not a super fan, learning a bit about the star players on the two teams that are playing will make it that much more interesting. You’ll know which players to watch (hint: those that are doing all the scoring) and why everybody’s wearing a certain jersey. Or you can go in blind and just cheer for everything. But don’t wear the visitor’s colors if you can help it.
It’s loud. Join in.
You came for the excitement of the game right? Join the crowds. Look silly. Get into the action and holler a little. And hey, try to put down your phone and take in the game and the amazing skills of these pro athletes while you’re here rather than trying to capture every single moment for social media. If you must document it for the ‘gram, take your pics before the game starts!
Concessions ain’t cheap.
Sure, everybody loves nachos and beer, but make sure you have the funds to splurge if you’re hoping to eat and drink in the stadium. The average NBA cost of a small beer was $7.50 in 2016. (That’s more like $10.50 at a Knicks game though.) If you’re planning to spend the evening with friends or family, we recommend grabbing food and drinks before the game rather than trying to fill up in the stadium. Think of it as your tailgate experience. Your wallet will thank you. FYI, the Atlanta Hawks did just introduce “fan friendly” pricing at Philips Arena with several options for eating and drinking under five dollars. Hopefully, that means more NBA teams will follow suit!
There might be famous people there.
Besides the players, that is. You know how you always see folks like Jay-Z, Beyonce, Leo, and Rihanna sitting courtside in the tabloids? Yeah, that happens. It’s much more likely during the playoffs (and at a Knicks or Lakers game), but for those who care about people-watching as much as sports-watching, keep your eyes peeled and don’t forget to check out who’s sitting in those baller courtside seats!
Enjoy the downtime.
The home team organizes lots of games, entertainment, and prizes during the breaks and halftime to keep the fans in their seats. While everyone else is rushing to the bathrooms, stay put and you might see something (or win something) cool.
Don’t spend a ton on tickets.
Contrary to popular belief, tickets don’t have to be expensive, especially if you don’t care where you sit! We’ve got authentic NBA tickets at unbeatable prices, guaranteed to get to you on time. Browse our selection of NBA tickets at Razorgator. Another tip? Print your ticket or figure out whether you can scan it on your phone to gain entry… before you head to the stadium. You may need to download an app to make it work! Don’t be that guy in line in a panic.
Have you ever been to an NBA game? Got any other good tips for first-timers?