NBA owners are raising their ticket prices amidst declining attendance and television ratings, according to a report from The New York Post. The average ‘gate’ per team, or dollars from ticket sales, rose 10.2% compared to the last pre-pandemic season, which took place from 2018-19. Fans now paying an average of $109 per ticket, according to data obtained by the outlet.
All told, NBA owners are raking in 18.6% more in revenue when compared with pre-pandemic levels. Despite the increased revenue, the number of paid fans at arenas decreased by 7.1%.
A handful of small market teams have fared worse than average, with some clubs recording attendance drops of 30% or more. The San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers and Minnesota Timberwolves recorded the largest drops in total gate revenue over the 2021-22 season.
The bleak data comes as NBA owners are getting set to renegotiate a new multi-billion-dollar TV deal. The league’s current $2.66 billion annual deal with ABC/ESPN and Turner Sports set to expire at the end of the 2024-25 season.
“The league generates roughly 70% of its revenue through media rights and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly seeking a new, nine-year deal that will pay $8 billion a year,” The New York Post reported.
Television ratings over this past season were down when compared with the 2018-19 campaign.
“I’d be wondering if this is a canary in a coal mine,” a source who advises NBA teams told The New York Post. “If I were Silver, I would be on the teams with the biggest attendance drops telling them it was unacceptable.”
The NBA has blamed COVID-19 for the drop in attendance. “Overall attendance was down during the regular season because of the Omicron spike but since April we have had record attendance including 59 consecutive sell-outs to date during the playoffs,” said NBA spokesman Mike Bass.
NBA playoff ratings have been off to a decent start this season, though they are still down when compared with pre-pandemic levels.
NBA Postpones Playoff Games After Milwaukee Bucks Boycott, WNBA, NFL And More Call For More “Action” And Social Justice https://t.co/DfOYRdZnRz pic.twitter.com/us9LGINV9j
— BallerAlert (@balleralert) August 26, 2020