Out of sheer curiosity, I spent more than an hour last week looking up how much tickets for Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals between Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. To say I wasn’t surprised is accurate.
With many seats priced north of $1,000, it should come as no eye-opener that sellers anticipate the Finals to be as invigorating as Kendrick Lamar’s pre-game instrumentals hype it up to be. But yikes at those prices.
It’s a question that any typical sports fan ponders at least once in their lifetime: “How much would I pay to see my favorite team compete in a championship?”
Any diehard fan would be inclined to give up a lot. After all, unless they were a fan of the Chicago Bulls, New York Yankees or New England Patriots in the 1990s and 2000s, it’s not likely that one’s team will have that chance on a frequent basis.
And even with a team such as the Warriors poised to dominate the NBA for the foreseeable future, it’s still a chance to witness greatness up close.
The storyline and script for this year’s Finals could not be more enticing. Eleven All-Stars, three MVPs and a rubber match unlike any other that the NBA has ever seen, shelling out hundreds will be quite the story to tell grandkids down the road, to say, “I was there to see LeBron and company challenge one of the best teams in the history of the game.” Any fan of the NBA, let alone a Warrior or Cavalier fan, would deem the experience to be priceless.
But unless you’re a celebrity like Rihanna, who could realistically buy courtside seats to all seven games, it just isn’t worth it to drop thousands or even hundreds of dollars for a few hours of entertainment. Having gone to Warriors games during the regular season growing up, the experience is amazing — while it lasts.
For a regular-season game, it’s rare to spend anything under $100 even for seats that may as well be on Mars somewhere up in Oracle’s nosebleeds. When I did go in recent years, the Warriors were often up by 20 or more points by the time the third quarter buzzer sounded. The cheapest price that I found to spend Game 1 on Mars? Nearly $400.
At that point, there’s a decent chance that the person selling those tickets is a scammer trying to rip someone off. Seriously. It’s a sad reality, but the risks are high when throwing around big bucks for an event like this, and there are bad guys out there looking to take advantage of desperate fans.
Even if you do make it into the building, parking costs more than just an outrageous $50 fee — you have to deal with impatient drivers and a wait time that can last almost as long as the game itself. The greasy food options, also over-priced, can be rated as mediocre at best. And that free T-shirt that fans get on their seats? The chances of it fitting you are not as high as those seats that you’re probably sitting in.
Instead of dropping a significant chunk of money on tickets, a jam-packed parking lot and over-salted food for a seat and a “free” T-shirt to go along with your pricey experience, here’s a small list of things that can be bought with $400, the worst seat in the house:
- 14 Beast Mode X Cal Bear T-shirts (each $26.25)
- 26 tickets in the upper deck at an Oakland A’s game (each $15)
- 57 wraps from The Den (each $6.95)
Did I mention that prices are only rising for future Warriors games? I guess at that point, when the price rises from $400 to $450, there isn’t much of a difference.
There are two options:
1) Go for the all-in experience and witness the potential for greatness live
2) Invite friends over, order pizza and jam to the dynamic duo of “Humble.” and “DNA.” instrumentals along with Jeff Van Gundy’s humorous commentary on whether this is even a series in the first place.
Embrace option two y’all. Strength in numbers? More like $trength in number$.
Contact Josh Yuen at