In an e-mail to fans on May 29 the Golden State Warriors outlined the pre-sale options for tickets to the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena.
Those who didn’t mind sitting upstairs in sections 226 to 231 could get a seat for between $1,000 and $1,120.
Those who wanted to stay in the rafters but more toward center court? Sections 201 to 222 were going for between $1,146 and $1,347 – about the same as weekly salary for the average Oakland public school teacher, according to the pay scale estimator Salary.com.
Baseline seats in the middle tier or upper seats in the center were priced at between $1,395 and $1,725 for sections 105 to 204. Lower baselines were priced in a range of $1,742 to $3,937.
Serious seats – the center court 100-level seats to the floor seats, were priced at between $3,950 and $57,475.
Resale options were essentially limited to the site and Ticketmaster.
Ironically, the e-mail blast went out five days after the club blasted StubHub with a motion to dismiss a suit brought by the major secondary market site claiming that the team’s agreement with Ticketmaster unjustly monopolizes the market.
The Warriors themselves were mum on the move, citing pending litigation as a reason for not commenting.
But what about the prices? Forbes pointed out in an April 16 story that playoff prices at Oracle Arena were 27.8 percent more expensive than the team’s regular season average of $327.
David Spielman, the public affairs and community manager for the advocacy group Fan Freedom, says there is really nothing anyone can do.
“It’s business,” he said.
But is it affordable?
“I have come to love this team, but I am not even thinking about it,” said Kirt Zimmer about potentially purchasing playoff tickets. Zimmer is a Bay Area marketing professional who relocated from the East Coast.
These days, unaffordable tickets are nothing new.
A March 29, 2007 story in TicketNews points out that, a few years back, the Chicago Cubs “alienated” fans and prompted several legal responses when they “hoarded” their own tickets to playoff games (tickets which otherwise might have been available to season ticket holders to purchase at face value), in order to scalp them at an exorbitant markup on secondary ticket marketing sites.
The same story mentioned that the Angels came under fire for not necessarily hoarding their own tickets and selling them at huge markups for financial gain, but are restricting season ticket holders to using their service.
A lawsuit filed in New Jersey last month accused the NHL’s Devils of doing the same thing.
When contacted last week, Warriors spokesman Matt de Nesnera said, “We set our prices based on demand through a variety of variables including what the market current is (the secondary market) and we currently price our tickets below the secondary market. In addition, as for playoff tickets, our prices are still below the secondary market and for our season ticket holders, we’ve provided them with a greatly reduced rate for NBA Playoff tickets for this year.”
Zimmer said that yes, he could get a ticket for less than $100 to a regular-season game.
But secondary tickets could be double or triple that, he said. And with kids in elementary school through college, the bills come first, he said.
“And that is in Oakland,” Zimmer said. “I can just imagine what will happen when the team moves to San Francisco.”
The move is planned for 2018.
But, as Spielman said, it’s business.
“The Warriors are committed to providing fans with the opportunity to see our games in person through a safe and secure ticket buying experience,” the team said in a statement when asked about ticket pricing. “Dozens of fans are denied entry to Oracle Arena each game because they purchased counterfeit tickets. Warriors.com and NBATickets.com are the only sites where tickets are guaranteed to be authentic. Although some third party sites may offer a “money back” guarantee, none of them can verify ticket authenticity that would guarantee entry to our games.
“Currently, more than 10,500 fans are waiting for the opportunity to purchase Warriors season tickets. However, each year a significant number of those tickets are purchased by ticket brokers with the sole intent to resell them at a markup. The Warriors recently decided not to renew 2015-16 season tickets held by some ticket brokers, so that we can instead sell those tickets directly to fans on our wait list.
“This approach reflects our commitment to giving our fans the game experience they deserve.”