It’s no secret that NBA league official have a rooting interest for the games’ biggest stage- the NBA Finals . The league tends to makes more money when the teams involved with the championship game are from major markets or attract more attention (and thus viewership). Every year it is the subject of conspiracy theories as both the media and fans alike try to explain strange calls that seem to favor the more popular team or superstar. Case in point, the many phantom foul calls the Lebron James and Dwayne Wade seem to get. Obviously, the NBA would much rather have the polarizing Miami Heat go deep in the playoff than a small market team like the Indiana Pacers (or so you would think).
So with the NBA Playoffs well underway which teams do you think league officials are rooting for? In this article we’ll break down fan interest as it relates to ticket demand. While ticket demand doesn’t necessarily gauge fan interest when it comes to TV viewership it does paint a picture as to which teams would generate the most revenue for their league.
NBA West Finals Ticket Projections
Teams remaining: Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs
1. Los Angeles Lakers – Average Ticket Price: $1882.85
The Lakers are in the largest market and have bonafide NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. Anytime the Lakers make it to the finals the NBA is assured strong ticket demand and attendance.
2. Los Angeles Clippers – Average Ticket Price: $1196.92
Although the Clippers are not as popular as the Lakers, LA is a massive market. Add in the fact that you have two extremely marketable stars in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul and the Clippers finish just behind the Lakers.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder – Average Ticket Price: $924.45
The Thunder have a lot going for them. They have 2 superstars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. If that was enough both of these All-star are extremely likable. However, the Thunder play in the micro Oklahoma City Market.
4. San Antonio Spurs – Average Ticket Price: $559.83
Let’s face it…the San Antonio Spurs are just flat out boring. They do have many recognizable All-star caliber players (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili) but they are getting long in the tooth. Throw in the fact that San Antonio isn’t a great basketball market and you have the lowest average ticket price of the four teams remaining.
NBA East Finals Ticket Projections
Teams remaining: Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics
1. Indiana Pacers – Average Ticket Price: $1006.81
This one is a bit of surprise as the Pacers are in a small market and do not have any “star” players. However, they play solid team basketball and the fans are starting to believe. Throw in the fact that the fan base has no become complacent with success and you have some serious buzz after going up 2-1 on the Heat.
2. Boston Celtics – Average Ticket Price: $919.93
Boston is one of the best sports markets in the nation. While the big three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett are in the backstretch of their careers, Celtics fans are thinking this could be their last chance for a title run before the rebuilding process begins.
3. Miami Heat – Average Ticket Price: $716.38
Love them or hate them, the Miami Heat certainly bring the drama with them where ever they go. Lebron James and Dwayne Wade are great for TV ratings but fans in Miami could seem to care less. Miami is probably the worst city in the US in terms of sports fans.
4. Philadelphia 76ers – Average Ticket Price: $556.49
The 76ers are much like the Pacers- a well coached team with no recognizable faces. The 76ers come in last due to the fact that the fan base has not really bought into them yet. They are currently tied 2-2 with the Celtics but their win over Chicago is tainted with MVP Derrick Rose out.