Breaking Down the Cost of Championship Clinching Games in NBA and Stanley Cup Finals

June 12, 2015

There’s no better feeling for a player or fan than winning a championship. Each year as the end of June approaches, one of the peaks of the sports year comes as both the NHL and NBA crown a new league champion. While the Stanley Cup Final and NBA Finals so often run concurrently, the final games of each series also often around the same time. While the NBA has caught up to the NHL for ticket prices on the secondary market, that is not typically the case.

Prices from sport-to-sport, year-to-year, and game-to-game are constantly changing. That also means the cost of clinching a championship is never quite concrete. Depending on the team and the market, the secondary market prices for the final game of the series can vary greatly.

That is the case with both the Stanley Cup Final and NBA Finals this season. Both series are tied 2-2 after four games, meaning at least six games will be needed to decide each series. However, for both series the prices will be significantly different depending on whether the series ends in six games or seven.

For the NBA Finals, the current average price for Game 6 tickets in Cleveland have an average price of $1,921.74. While that price is more than likely to go up should the Cavaliers win Sunday’s Game 5 at Oracle Arena, it’s still 21.7% below the average price for a potential seventh game. Warriors tickets for a Game 7 currently have an average of $2,453.19 with a get-in price of $1,070.

The opposite trend is shown in the Stanley Cup Final. Game 6 in Chicago is 64.8% more expensive than a possible Game 7 in Tampa Bay. As the bigger market, Blackhawks tickets for Game 6 on Monday night have an average price of $2,257.25 on the secondary market with a get-in price of $810. However, a Game 7 at Amalie Arena two nights later holds an average of just $1,369.95.

So where would these prices rank among recent championship winning games in each league? Below are secondary market prices for the clinching game for the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final since 2011.

[embedit cf="HTML1"]

Regardless of when the series ends for the NBA, it is on pace to be the most expensive finale of an NBA Finals over the past five seasons. The current price for Game 6 at Quicken Loans Arena is 42.7% more expensive than the 2013 Game 7 between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs in Miami.  If Game 7 should occur this year, it would be the first NBA FInals game since at least 2011 with an average price over $2,000.

For the NHL, the series could either end with the second-most expensive or least expensive series deciding game during that time. Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks is the gold standard for championship-deciding games with an average of $3,834.74. Even if the Blackhawks win Game 5 in Tampa, it is unlikely prices for Game 6 will reach that level. Strangely if the Stanley Cup Final is extended to a seventh game, it would be the least expensive finale for a Stanley Cup Final over the last five years. Previously the least expensive game was Game 5 last season when the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New York Rangers.