Oracle Arena is the happiest place on Earth.
Home to the best team in basketball, people outside of the Bay Area finally know where the arena is without having to look it up. During any given home game, you’re in for a treat as 20,000 fans decked out in blue and yellow scream their lungs out as “The Greatest Show on Hardwood” puts on a show headlined by long threes, beautiful passes, and sticky defense. The Warriors are known for having the best home court advantage in the league, winning their last 35 games at home.
Before you go running to buy tickets to join the fun, I must warn you about something: tickets to a Warriors game will cost you an arm and a leg. Obviously. (You could get tickets for the Jan. 11 game vs. the Miami Heat at a modest $500 for section 113).
I may have only gotten a C+ in Economics, but it doesn’t take an economist to know that when a product separates itself from the pack like this, becoming unlike anything we’ve ever seen, the owners of said product can jack up the price to ridiculous figures. It’s the reason you paid $700 for the iPhone you’re reading my article on. It’s also the reason you paid $200 for the shoes you’re wearing. Everybody wants to see the Warriors play live, and there’s not much we can do about it.
Last season the Warriors led the league in average ticket price at $327, 27 percent higher than the Cavaliers, who were second at $258, according to Forbes.com. The Warriors are set to move to San Francisco in 2018, and I don’t even want to think about how expensive tickets are going to be for a team coming off of a championship into a brand new state of the art building. Here’s the virtual tour of the venue if you haven’t seen it already:
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that the Dubs are moving into a new arena – Oracle is the oldest arena in the league, opening in 1966, and it hasn’t been remodeled since 1996.
But what if the move to the SF arena neutralizes one of the Warriors biggest advantages in crowd noise? With the Warriors’ recent success, the seats closest to floor at Oracle Arena are mostly occupied by the wealthy businessmen and women who can easily afford those seats. These men and women, funneled in by team success and the ongoing tech boom in the Bay Area, aren’t going to cheer and celebrate at a game the same way someone who is younger and has a lot less money would.
Think about it. The Warriors may have the best home court advantage in the league, but the average home crowd is nothing like it has been in the past. Remember those crowds when the Warriors made their first playoff run of the Splash Brother era in 2013? The current crowds aren’t even in the same stratosphere of crazy as the “We Believe” crowds. I remember watching the games on TV and there would be a bar on the side monitoring the decibels. The games were often times louder than monster truck shows and big concerts!
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It sucks to think that in order for me to be able to attend a Warrior game in a couple of years I might actually have to dip into my life savings. Kidding, but you know what I mean. It’s going to cost a pretty penny. The average fan will be priced out, and Warrior home games will be attended by the wealthier inhabitants of the Bay Area night in and night out.
Look at the 49ers for example. They moved to Levi’s Stadium from Candlestick Park last season and the home field advantage they had developed over their history damn near vanished because of ticket pricing.
Basketball isn’t a sport where the fans are supposed to be professional and tame. This isn’t golf. When I tell others not a part of Dub Nation that I’m a Warriors fan, one of the first things they bring up is how crazy of a fan base we are.
Even when the Warriors were awful, the seats were still filled with passionate, crazy fans. I’d love to be able to see Steph Curry hit pull up threes from near half court and Draymond Green scream into the crowd after a big defensive play in person, but like a lot of Dub Nation, I just can’t afford to.