Seats at NBA Finals Go for $400 to $80,000

If you want to watch Thursday's NBA Finals game, you can turn on the TV or plunk down tens of thousands of dollars for a seat to watch it in person at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The storied Lakers-Celtics rivalry and Father's Day are among factors driving up ticket prices.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And let's talk about people now trying to get the benefit of the NBA Finals. Game Four is tonight. Most fans will settle for watching it on TV, but others are plunking down thousands of dollars to watch the game in person. These finals are between two of the NBA's most storied franchises - the Celtics and the Lakers - and ticket prices are higher than they've ever been before.

NPR's Ben Bergman reports.

BEN BERGMAN: Sitting at his desk in Brentwood, California, Brad Schy stares at a bank of five computer monitors showing charts, graphs and emails from all over the world. He could easily be mistaken for a Wall Street day trader.

Mr. BRAD SCHY (President, Musical Chairs): I am a trader. I mean, I'm just trading in tickets. I mean, it's a really pure supply-and-demand market. I mean, your economic 101 definitely comes into play.

BERGMAN: Schy is president of a ticket brokerage business called Musical Chairs. This week, it's a very fitting name. He's inundated with calls from people wanting tickets for the long sold-out NBA Finals. What they're willing to pay changes by the hour.

Mr. SCHY: It's a very volatile market, and, you know, if the inventory move builds up and it's not moving, people start dropping the prices. If it goes - if it's moving like...

(Soundbite of fingers snapping)

Mr. SCHY: ...real fast, then people up the prices.

BERGMAN: After the Lakers lost the first two games of the series, some fickle Lakers fans lost interest. Schy lowered the prices 15 percent.

Mr. SCHY: People love a winner, so the more likely you are to win, the more people want to go.

BERGMAN: The Lakers eked out a win Tuesday, prices went back up. Schy was able to unload four floor seats for tonight's game. The cost: $15,000 apiece. If the Lakers win tonight, he expects prices for Sunday's game to go even higher - not just because it would be a pivotal game, but also it's Father's Day.

Mr. SCHY: It is absolutely a perfect storm for prices to be high.

BERGMAN: At the Web site StubHub - sort of an eBay for selling your own tickets - seats can be had for close to $400. Make sure to bring your own binoculars, though. To sit closer to the most famous Lakers fan, Jack Nicholson, some prices have gone higher than $80,000. For that, you'll get prime seating at mid-court, right next to the Lakers bench - $30 dollar parking and fifteen dollar beer not included.

If you think that seems a little steep for three hours of basketball, well, you're not alone. StubHub spokesman Sean Pate says the most expensive offerings have almost no chance of being sold.

Mr. SEAN PATE (Spokesman, StubHub): People that have very, very choice courtside seats, they want to go to the series, but they're going to ask, you know, almost ridiculous sums of money in the event that somebody would be willing to pay for that.

BERGMAN: Maybe the only good thing about 80 grand seats is they make $9,000 ones look like a bargain. That's about the highest price buyers have been willing to shell out on StubHub.

Over on Craigslist, cash isn't the only thing fans are offering. Elsa Flores El Miraz(ph) posted a listing earlier this week.

Ms. ELSA FLORES EL MIRAZ: Need a magical rejuvenating vacation? Yes. Lakers playoffs tickets wanted in exchange for a lovely three-bedroom vacation rental on the incredible north shore of Kauai. This home is across the street from the best beaches in the world. Go Lakers.

BERGMAN: El Miraz says she'll negotiate any terms - so far, no takers.

Ben Bergman, NPR News, Los Angeles.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.