A year after the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, there’s even more anticipation to see the two teams battle for the championship a second time. This year's ticket prices are higher than last year's, providing a healthy vote of confidence for the league.
Game 1 is set for Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, on Thursday, with tickets listed for an average of $1,625, via CNBC. That’s up more than 9 percent from last year when the average Game 1 seat was listed for $1,486.
"This would be the most expensive NBA Finals we have ever tracked," said Chris Matcovich, vice president of data and communications at ticket reseller TiqIQ.
Tickets in Cleveland are selling for much less than the seats in Golden State’s home arena. The average ticket price for a Cavaliers home game is $1,121, while it costs an average of $1,754 to watch a finals game in the venue where the Warriors went 39-2 in the regular season.
The average ticket prices in Cleveland are already higher than what fans paid to watch the Cavs play their final game of 2015, losing to the Warriors in Game 6 of the finals. The median price of Game 6 in Cleveland was $721, while the median ticket price for a potential Game 7 was $2,425, via Vivid Seats.
A fan just paid $58,804 on StubHub for six seats to Game 1 of the NBA Finals, eight rows above the Warriors bench.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 31, 2016
It should come as no surprise that seats to the finals are so expensive. Stephen Curry has become even more popular than he was a year ago, winning his second straight MVP award and leading the Warriors to the best regular season in NBA history. LeBron James is arguably the most recognizable basketball player in the world, and the league’s top two stars will go head-to-head in what could be a long and competitive series.
The 2015 NBA Finals became the most-watched finals since ABC began airing them in 2003, averaging 19.9 million viewers. Monday’s Western Conference final Game 7 between the Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder posted an 11.2 overnight rating on TNT, garnering more than four times as many viewers as Game 1 of the Stanley Cup, which aired simultaneously.
By noon on Monday, tickets for the Warriors-vs.-Thunder Game 7 tickets were selling for an average of more than $900.