Knicks remain as most expensive NBA team to watch

Apr 10, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin (1) signs his sneakers for a young fan after the game against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks fans take pride in being the most passionate in the NBA. And they put their money where their mouth is.

The cost to attend the Knicks games remains the most expensive for the 12th straight season, yet they are still among the top crowd drawers in the league.

According to Team Marketing Report’s annual NBA Fan Cost Index research, a Knicks game costs an average of $936.72 for a family of four, an FCI increase of 4.2 percent from the 2020-21 season. They have the most expensive ticket in the league, with a single general ticket costing $186.3.

The FCI is based on the average weighted cost of a general ticket, the least expensive, regular-priced beer, soda and hotdog in the arena, parking fees and a team hat.

The Golden State Warriors, who have three future Hall of Famers led by fan-favorite Stephen Curry, and the Los Angeles Lakers, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, are a distant second and third on the list.

The Warriors supplanted the Lakers by having the most significant ticket price raise this season — 6.1 percent or the equivalent of an $8.07 price hike — that added to their $740.08 FCI. One of the 18 teams who held ticket prices flat, the Lakers had $711.76 FCI. But the Lakers’ average ticket price ($143.67) was still more expensive than the Warriors’ ($139.49).

Despite having the heftiest price tag and a disappointing season, the 37-45 Knicks drew an average of 18,621 fans at Madison Square Garden, ranked eighth in the league, per ESPN’s NBA attendance tracking. The Warriors are 11th in the league, with an average of 18,064 fans in their home games in the regular season. Despite James and Anthony Davis missing a big chunk of the season due to injuries, the Lakers still drew an average of 18,649 fans, ranking just above the Knicks.

The Boston Celtics, who averaged a fifth-best 19,156 fans in their home games, had $596.11 FCI, the fourth most expensive NBA live experience. The Chicago Bulls — this season’s top drawer — parlayed their big splash in free agency into an average of 20,881 fans per home game. They had the fifth most expensive FCI ($578.50).

The other New York team — Brooklyn Nets — did not raise their ticket prices despite coming into the season as the title favorites. They ended up 13th in FCI ($443.02) and attendance (17,354), with Kevin Durant sidelined for 21 games due to a knee injury, James Harden traded, and Kyrie Irving’s absence in their home games until late March.

The Knicks have topped the annual Team Marketing Report’s FCI research for a record 21 times in 31 years. Only the Celtics (once) and the Lakers (nine times) are the other teams who made it to the top of the list.

Despite the presence of the electrifying duo of LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges, the Charlotte Hornets had the least expensive FCI (237.55). They were in the middle of the pack in terms of average attendance (17,091) at home.

Four of the teams in the bottom five of the FCI research, including the Hornets, made the play-in and the playoffs: Atlanta Hawks ($305.31), Washington Wizards ($300.36), Minnesota Timberwolves ($298.80) and Memphis Grizzlies ($258.24).

The Knicks don’t have the star power. But their future looks bright with a solid young core led by RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley. And when they start winning, expect the Knicks to be more expensive to watch.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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