DISH Satellite TV and networks such as NBA League Pass have diminished the incentive for fans to get up from their couches to step outside and watch their favorite teams live. The reasoning: Why gamble with the chance of paying big bucks to see your home team getting blown out when you have the remote in your hand and the ability to switch to any nail-biting game you want to watch in a given night?
Basically most fans have been saying in the second half of the 21st century with the increasing cost of the live game experience, they would rather save their money (expenses ranging from ticket prices to parking to food and drink costs) by watching their favorite team from the comfort of their home. But, luckily for us Cleveland Cavaliers fans, we won’t have to suffer through the tumultuous season that the Wine & Gold are currently experiencing giving up too much money at Quicken Loans Arena. According to a research study done by Sreekar Jasthi on nerdwallet.com, the Cavs rank first in the NBA in lowest Total Family Cost (measured in dollars). Before we get into the details of the study, here are the three criteria that Iasthi used to measure Total Family Cost of an NBA game for a family of four:
1. How much do various items commonly purchased at sporting events – tickets, beer, soda, hot dogs and parking – cost at every NBA arena?
2. How much does the average home game experience cost for a family of four for each of the 30 teams? – TFC = total price of four tickets purchased on the secondary market + two 16 oz. beers, two 16 oz. sodas, four hot dogs and one parking space
3. How can a family of four effectively and reasonably cut costs when going to an NBA game?
Before we look at the Cavaliers, let’s take a quick look at the NBA averages for the categories used to calculate TFC (average = $442.28):
Median Resale Ticket Price: $96.57
16 oz. beer: $6.92
16 oz. soda: $3.84
Hot dog: $4.82
Although Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert charges the fourth-most expensive 16 oz. beer in the League, the Cavaliers blow away the other teams in terms of affordability in all of the other categories. A 16 oz. soda and hot dog meal will cost someone around $10, while parking comes out to the cheapest in the NBA at $5 in most lots. With the opening of Gilbert’s Horseshoe Casino, I’ve been seeing some places bumped up to $10. But a two-way trip on the RTA costs $5 and there are still some lots five to 10 minutes away from the stadium that cost $5. With the median resale ticket price for Cavs games coming in at $42—$13 lower than the Pacers, who rank closest to Cleveland in the NBA—the Wine & Gold’s TFC comes to a NBA-low $222.67.
Now, to put this into the widest-ranging perspective we can, let’s take a look at the team that ranks dead last and on the opposite spectrum in TFC: The New York Knicks. The Knicks, who are looking even more miserable than the Cavs right now, have a TFC of $878.20. It doesn’t help that it costs about $30 to park in the city, but seats at Madison Square Garden can’t be bought with chump change.
So Cavs fans can look at it this way: You can take your family of four to see a team that is currently 4-10 (3-2 at home) for $220, or you can pay quadruple that price to see the 3-9 Knicks (1-6 at home) at MSG (If you live in New York, you’d be better off buying a $100 bus ticket to Cleveland to see the Knicks and Cavs square off). Or you can take a seat on the couch and watch your favorite games in the peace and comfort of your home.