Strong ticket demand for Friday night’s home playoff game between the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers has brokers on the secondary market high-fiving each other.
At Fanfare Tickets in Carmel, upper-level seats start at about $90 each while pricier lower-level tickets begin at about $250 each, said Renny Harrison, owner of the brokerage.
The prices are much higher than what tickets on average would fetch for a typical regular-season game—$20 each for the upper level and $75 each for the lower level, he said.
On national ticket brokerage StubHub on Friday morning, courtside seats ranged from $849 each to $2,156 each. Upper-level seats started at $85 each and reached as high as $240.
Harrison at Fanfare said he only had a handful of tickets available in each of the price categories for Friday night’s game against the Cavaliers.
“It’s been great,” Harrison said of the Pacers’ playoff run. “It’s an extra boost for our business this time of year.”
Starting the season with an unproven mix of players, the Pacers had some of the lowest-priced NBA tickets on the secondary market. But those prices increased nearly 42 percent from the beginning of the season to mid-February, from an average of $36.80 to $52.13 each, as the team highlighted its charismatic chemistry and the explosiveness of newly arrived Victor Oladipo. That surge was fifth-best in the NBA on a percentage basis, according to national ticket brokerage TickPick.
The Pacers return home to Bankers Life Fieldhouse from Cleveland tied 1-1 in the first-round playoff series.
A matchup against LeBron James and the star power he brings helps to sell more tickets, acknowledged Todd Taylor, head of Pacers ticket sales.
“The mot popular game [in the regular season] was Golden State, but the two home games against Cleveland were in the top five for sure,” Taylor said. “That’s because they’re a Central Division rival and they’ve got LeBron.”
Friday night’s game technically is sold-out, but tickets remained on both the secondary market and at the Pacers ticket office as of Friday morning. The home team typically has tickets available that it receives from the visiting team that went unsold, and from the NBA.
The Pacers also faced the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs last season but were swept in four games. This year, the Pacers won the first game on the road and narrowly lost on Wednesday, 100-97.
Fans are excited that the Pacers seem to have a legitimate chance of beating Cleveland, Harrison said.
“The Cavaliers are definitely our most attractive demand, as far as tickets,” he said. “It’s also in fans’ minds that we can win this series.”
To that end, Taylor at the Pacers doesn’t expect Bankers Life to be infiltrated by hoards of Cavaliers’ fans.
“I think it will be a very pro-Pacers crowd tonight,” he said.
Bankers Life will be awash in gold, as every fan attending the game will receive a gold Pacers T-shirt.
The game begins at 7 p.m. and will be available on both ESPN and Fox Sports Indiana. Game 4 of the series will be played Sunday evening in Indianapolis, and Game 5 on Wednesday in Cleveland. The series returns to Indianapolis on Friday for Game 6, if necessary. Game 7 would be back in Cleveland.