Sitting ar Courtside on NBA Matches - story behind those seats

When Did Courtside Seating at NBA Matches Become a Thing?

Courtside seating in NBA games is one of the best-known things about the matches, besides athletes, of course. In European competitions, we can find a similar concept.

You will find broadcast directors often focusing on the celebrities who take those places. But when did this trend become so widespread?

Let’s find out.

The Origins of Courtside Seating

The courtside seating in NBA games can be traced back to a team’s striving to enhance the fan experience while opening a lucrative revenue stream for the teams. Killing two birds with one stone, right? The trend started in the late 20th century when teams recognized the potential of the empty spaces along the sidelines.

Originally, these prime locations were occupied by the press, media (which has a huge impact on the NBA), and team staff, but visionary figures within the league saw the opportunity to transform these seats into an exclusive offering for fans seeking proximity to the on-court action.

The Lakersunder the ownership of Jerry Buss, were pioneers in this aspect and were the first team that recognized the potential behind this concept.

Despite Buss’s attempts to consolidate these seats by purchasing them from celebrities and moguls, he found that these seats had become so valued that they were often passed down through generations.

The Transformation into a Cultural Phenomenon

The Transformation into a Cultural Phenomenon - Sitting Courtside at an NBA Game-min

Courtside seats at NBA games have transcended their original purpose of simply offering the best view of the game. The concept has become one of the cultural symbols within the league.

Spike Lee, known for his passionate support of the New York Knicks, has been a season-ticket holder since 1985.

Furthermore, Jack Nicholson is a regular at Los Angeles Lakers games. Not only that, Laker’s matches are among his few public appearances.

Their consistent presence courtside has not only underscored the cultural significance of these seats but also contributed to the NBA’s allure as a fusion of sports and entertainment.

This transition into a cultural phenomenon has been bolstered by the visibility these seats offer, making them a coveted spot for stars wanting to be seen at the height of sports action.

The fact that celebrities use these opportunities not just for entertainment but to engage with the game, and occasionally with players and coaches, adds interaction and spontaneity that is unique to the league.

The Economics of Courtside Seating

The economics of courtside seating in the NBA is a complex interplay of demand, exclusivity, and the spectacle of live sports.

The cost of these seats can vary dramatically, influenced by a multitude of factors including team popularity, the significance of the match, and the star power of attending celebrities.

For instance, the cheapest court sitting place at Laker’s match is $5,5k. Teams like the Celtics utilize these premium seats as strategic assets, charging between $47,300 and $58,050 for a season ticket and reserving a select few for their own use, often for sponsors or celebrities.

Last season, the average price for court places was roughly $2k.

Accessing Courtside Seats

Accessing Courtside Seats at an NBA game

Acquiring courtside seats at an NBA game is often a feat that requires significant resources, connections, or both. The process differs from team to team, with some, like the Lakers, having their courtside seats controlled almost entirely by season ticket holders, many of whom have inherited these tickets.

Other teams, such as the Raptors and Knicks, reserve a few coveted spots for VIPs, ensuring that the court’s edge is always lined with star power. With the advent of technological and market developments, the sale and resale of these tickets have become more accessible, albeit still challenging for the average fan.

Strategies for distribution can include priority lists, long-standing loyalty to the team, and in some cases, promotional events that offer these once-in-a-lifetime experiences to lucky fans.

For example, the kind gesture by Raptor Greivis Vasquez inviting a fan to sit courtside showcases the rare opportunities for average individuals to experience the game from the best seats in the house.

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