Report: NBA Raises Ticket Prices as Attendance Plummets

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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

NBA owners have resorted to hiking ticket prices during one of the worst inflation crises in U.S. history to make up for dismal attendance numbers, according to a report.

The league is reporting that the average “gate” earnings per team have risen 10.2 percent this season over the pre-pandemic season of 2018-19. Though, that profit isn’t because fans are flocking to arenas. Instead, it is because the league has hiked ticket prices by double the rate of inflation, the New York Post reported.

Ticket prices have been inflated 18.6 percent this season, the paper adds. But there are fewer fans than ever in the seats.

“However, the number of paid fans at arenas plummeted 7.1% to 13,603 per game, the exclusive data also shows,” the Post reports. “The Post calculated average ticket prices by dividing gate receipts by paid attendance.”

Cleveland Cavaliers

Fans at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena (Lauren Bacho/Getty Images)

The paper adds that the Knicks charged $185 per seat this season — a 14 percent hike over last year — but lost four percent in paid attendance.

Unsurprisingly, the least popular teams are finding the worst attendance, and some are off 30 percent in the number of fans in the seats over previous seasons.

Ten of the league’s 30 teams saw paid attendance fall by 15 percent or more. None of the ten lowest attended teams made the playoffs.

TV ratings have also been a net negative. While ratings for this season’s playoffs finally saw an upturn, ratings have been a disaster for the league over the last three seasons.

The ratings troubles for the league are especially acute since the NBA gets 70 percent of its revenue through TV broadcast deals. And with the current deals set to sunset in 2025, the ratings may cause broadcasters to balk at the $8 billion the NBA wants for its next broadcasting rights contract.

The Post noted that at least two significant factors have contributed to the lower attendance and TV ratings. One is the coronavirus restrictions that many stadiums and arenas have suffered. Another is the constant drumbeat of woke, left-wing politics in nearly everything the NBA does.

The continuous homage to Black Lives Matter, the banners, proclamations, programs, and millions spent on so-called “social justice” projects have turned off millions of former fans.

One source inside the league told the paper that many fans no longer feel welcome by the league. “Half the country says this is not us,” the source said.

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