Sports — 28 April 2017

COMMENTARY

By C.J. Peterson @SFBayCJ

There was a time, not so long ago, when the Golden State Warriors weren’t NBA juggernauts.

When Andris Biedrins was the savior of the franchise — even though he couldn’t do as much as save his own free throw percentage — and Thunder wasn’t a team in Oklahoma City, but the muscular blue mascot that danced between quarters for raging fans blind to the mediocrity of the team.

I can remember the hotdog and soda I bought at the concession stand before tip-off used to cost more than the $10 ticket used to get into the game itself back then in 2005 .

But winning an NBA championship, setting an NBA record with 73 wins in the regular season and returning to the finals that same season has changed that narrative over the past two years. Warrior fans have been effectively priced out of games, and it’s only going to get worse.

For a game against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, you are lucky to find ticket for a nosebleed seat at less than $100. And that was just a meaningless game against a team that aren’t even close to sniffing the playoffs.

For higher profile games against teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers or the San Antonio Spurs, fans are looking at a minimum of $200 to attend the game, according to NBA.com.

SB Nation reported in 2016 that the Warriors held the highest median price for tickets to home games and did so at a staggering margin.

The article published by Andrew Flohr stated that Golden State’s median home game price rose to $238 per game with the next highest price being the Los Angeles Lakers at $200 per game.

Flohr attributed the gentrification of Oakland to be an overwhelming contributor to the rise in prices and has priced out some of the most die-hard Warrior fans of the bunch.

But the worst has yet to come for Warrior fans who are balling on a budget.

The San Jose Mercury news reports that ticket prices will get even higher in the next few seasons and the team will hike up their prices by 15-20 percent according to Daniel Mano of the Bay Area News Group.

The thing about the rise of ticket prices is that selling them to fans isn’t the problem, it’s who they are being sold to.

A fan base that built a reputation of being the most rabid and noisy in the league has been essentially booted out of the very arena that they helped make famous.

And the same fan base that stood by the team, that for years performed well below the standards of most NBA franchises, will be left to the seats of their sofas during perhaps the greatest run of any team in league history.

As a fan of the team it is amazing to see the team flourish and finally reflect the grittiness of its surrounding city. But the changes that come with success may be more than fans are willing to pay.

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