Ticket brokers are reaping the rewards of an overachieving Indiana Pacers team that is 10 games above .500 entering tonight’s matchup with the Utah Jazz.
The price of Pacers tickets on the secondary market increased nearly 42 percent from the beginning of the season to mid-February, from an average of $36.80 to $52.13 each. That surge was fifth-best in the NBA on a percentage basis, according to national ticket brokerage TickPick.
“Winning certainly is the biggest draw,” said Jack Slingland, TickPick’s director of client relations. “Trading away Paul George, the expectation was that it could be a down year, but they’ve surprised a lot of people.”
In June, Indiana sent four-time All-Star Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, in exchange for shooting guard Victor Oladipo and center Domantas Sabonis.
Both Oladipo and Sabonis have been major factors in the Pacers' turnaround. Oladipo is averaging 24 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Sabonis is logging a solid 12 points and 8.1 rebounds in both starting and back-up duty.
It doesn’t hurt, either, that Oladipo played college ball at Indiana University and is popular among local fans—something that seemed to elude George.
“I think the difference is, right or wrong, Victor is a team-first player, and everybody loved him when he was down at IU,” said Mike Peduto, president of locally based Circle City Tickets.
With a record of 37-27, the Pacers are holding onto the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, and are just a half-game behind the third place Cleveland Cavaliers.
Still, through 33 home games, Indiana’s average attendance is 15,701 (86.4 percent capacity), ranking the team 28th out of 30 and ahead of only the New Jersey Nets and Atlanta Hawks, NBA statistics show.
So what four teams are outperforming the Pacers in terms of ticket price increases? Leading the pack is the Boston Celtics whose average ticket price has hit $169.91, followed by the Houston Rockets ($89.76), Miami Heat ($76.77) and Utah Jazz ($53.63).
So, despite the current surge, Pacers games are still a relatively affordable entertainment option for the NBA, especially compared to the Celtics.