If you’re sensing a general feeling of malaise around the NBA Finals, you’re not alone. This is in stark contrast to the Stanley Cup Finals. Fans can get into Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena for Wednesday’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals for $241. It would take more than four times that to get into Monday’s Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
$241: Cheapest ticket on StubHub for Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Cleveland on Wednesday.
$1,092: Cheapest ticket on StubHub for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final in DC tonight.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 4, 2018
Some of this can be chalked up to the home team’s standing in each respective series.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are down 2-0 and while they did overcome that deficit two years ago, the general feeling is that the NBA Finals are all but over. Conversely, the Washington Capitals lead the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in the Stanley Cup Finals. In fact, if the Caps defeat the Golden Knights on Monday, this could be the last hockey game in Washington this season, with Vegas hosting a potential Game 5 clincher.
With that said, this is not a problem unique to Cleveland. The Golden State Warriors didn’t even sell out Game 1 of the NBA Finals on the primary market.
In 2015, this would have been unheard of in both Cleveland and Oakland. But when two teams make the finals in four straight seasons, it doesn’t feel quite as special for the fans.
Conversely, the Capitals haven’t played in a Stanley Cup Finals since 1998, while the Knights are an expansion team. That definitely creates more of a unique feeling for the fans, who are, in turn, willing to spend more money.
It will be interesting to see if the feeling around the NBA Finals changes if the series goes beyond four or five games.