For the third consecutive time, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will face off in the NBA Finals, but the repetitive matchup hasn’t done much this week to dull fan interest in scoring seats to the championship series.
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Tickets to the first four games of the rubber match between the NBA’s two dominant franchises are selling for an average price of $1,082 on SeatGeek, a secondary market ticket aggregator. This year’s average is only slightly lower than on the same day in 2016, when tickets sold the day before the finals for the series’ first four games had an average price of $1,138.
A slight decline in price this year was expected, given last year’s NBA Finals featured a record-setting 73-win Warriors team and the possibility of LeBron James’ first NBA title win as a member of the Cavaliers. However, this year’s prices show fans are “clearly excited” by the prospect of either of the Cavaliers or the Warriors securing a second championship against their archrival, SeatGeek analyst Natt Rattner told FOX Business.
“It looks like the ‘rubber match’ storyline is driving interest. Though maybe slightly lower, demand is generally in line with what we've seen the past two seasons,” Rattner said.
The Warriors won the first championship matchup against the Cavaliers in 2015. Cleveland got revenge last season, defeating Stephen Curry and a potent Golden State squad in seven games to even the series.
This year’s finals matchup also marks the third consecutive year that tickets at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena are significantly cheaper than tickets at Golden State’s Oracle Arena in Oakland. Seats at the Cavaliers’ first two NBA Finals home games have an average resale price of $870, compared to $1,293 for Golden State’s home games.
A competitive series will push ticket prices even higher, according to Rattner.
“Things may change depending on the state of the series -- for instance, should Cleveland have a chance to clinch the title at home in Game 6, expect demand, and prices, to rise,” he said.
The 2016-17 NBA Finals kick off on Thursday night, when the Warriors host the Cavaliers in Oakland.