Want to know when to score the cheapest resale tickets for your home team? Chances are, it's when the Bobcats, Magic, or Suns are in town. An analysis of ticket prices (as of Dec. 16) on Vivid Seats reveals that Charlotte is the worst road draw in the NBA—on average, a visit from the Bobcats results in a 36 percent decrease in ticket prices.
The Suns have been a fantastic surprise, and pre-Bledsoe injury looked like a potential playoff upset in the making. However, this success hasn't yet been reflected in the demand for the team's tickets on the secondary market. The Suns are the third worst road draw in the NBA, causing a 33 percent decrease in the prices of away games. In fact, Phoenix is the only team among the ten worst road draws to have a winning record.
The price of tickets for surprise turnaround teams might have another, more explicable reason, though: the schedule. The dates for all games are set ahead of time, and teams that are expected to be miserable (like the Suns) aren't given as many prime times and dates, where prices for tickets might be the ripest. So in that way, there's some bias built in here, like preseason polls in college sports.
Unsurprisingly, the Miami Heat are by far the biggest road draw in the NBA, as evidenced by the 142 percent hike in ticket prices caused by LeBron James and company. Following the Heat are the Lakers—who were the second biggest road draw even without Kobe—and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, two of the most disappointing teams thus far into the NBA season, are also among the few teams that cause an increase in ticket prices, proving yet again that name brand and star power typically outweigh the actual quality of the entertainment fans pay for.
Meanwhile, a visit from the San Antonio Spurs, the best and most consistent NBA team over the course of the last 13 years, causes no change in ticket prices on average, which is just about the most Spurs thing imaginable.
Charts by Reuben Fischer-Baum