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Sports Business

Cost of attending Pacers game rated as NBA’s best bargain—for now

November 20, 2013

Going to an Indiana Pacers game is a flat-out bargain. At least that’s what one California-based research firm concluded this week—10 games into the NBA season.

Sure, it’s cheaper to watch a game on television, but if you like watching live NBA hoops, there’s really no place better to reside than central Indiana—for two reasons.

First, the Pacers are good. Really good.

Secondly, and probably almost as important to my frugal Hoosier brethren, attending a Pacers game is relatively cheap. Not cheap compared to items on Wendy’s 99 cent value menu, but compared to admittance at other NBA arenas, the Pacers are dirt cheap.

Consider for a moment recent analysis by NerdWallet, a San Francisco-based data crunching and research firm which also runs a consumer advocacy website.

Analyzing the league, NerdWallet concluded that various costs associated with attending a Pacers game—from tickets to beer and parking—are far below the NBA average.

NerdWallet calculated the median cost of four tickets on the secondary market, two 16-ounce beers, two 16-ounce sodas, four hot dogs and one parking space, and concluded that the Total Family Cost of going to a Pacers game ranked second-lowest of 30 NBA teams.

Total Family Cost to attend a Pacers game—$262.50—is 41 percent below the league average of $442.28 and more than 70 percent lower than the New York Knicks,’ which has the NBA’s highest cost at $878.20.

Only the Cleveland Cavaliers, at $222.67, have a lower cost than the Pacers. And I think most basketball fans would agree that the Pacers, which have a league-best 9-1 record, are a bit more entertaining these days than Cleveland, which is well under .500.

The Pacers offer the third-lowest median ticket price ($55) in the NBA, behind only Cleveland ($42) and Dallas ($52).

The Pacers had a lower family cost than Dallas because parking is apparently much cheaper near Bankers Life Fieldhouse, $8 compared to $20 at the Mavericks home venue, according to NerdWallet.

The cost of a beer ($6), soda ($3.25), hot dog ($4) and parking ($8) at a Pacers game are all well below the league average, according to NerdWallet.

The average median resale ticket price of the 30 NBA teams is $96.57. That’s $41.57 more than a Pacers ticket.

Unlike the oft-sited Team Marketing Report studies, which use box office ticket prices, NerdWallet opts to use prices on the secondary market for its analysis.

“The resale market offers a more accurate representation of the demand for a team’s tickets, so ticket prices will fluctuate throughout the season based on team performance and the opponent’s strength,” explained NerdWallet Strategy Analyst Sreekar Jasthi.

Based on last year’s deep playoff run, this year’s hot start and the emergence of Paul George as a true NBA star, Pacers tickets “are perhaps the best value in the NBA from a cost-quality standpoint,” Jasthi said.

The only thing keeping prices at Pacers games down now is the relatively small size of the market—which can have an impact on demand, Jasthi said. But he warned of imminent price increases.

“Families should definitely take advantage of the undervalued resale tickets before the team’s success causes a dramatic increase in prices,” Jasthi said. “Star power and consistent expectations of success will eventually outweigh the effect of the team's location in a small market.”

For a team-by-team breakdown of the entire league, click here.

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