Remember when you could go to a Sixers game for 5 bucks? Remember when nobody cared whether they won or lost and the team was about as popular as the arena football team that shares the building?
Those times are gone. The Sixers open their home slate tonight against the Boston Celtics and if you want to go, it’s going to cost you. The cheapest ticket available for tonight’s game on StubHub as of 10 a.m. was $50 apiece for two seats, while the cheapest single seat available at Wells Fargo Center is just shy of $60.
If you want to sit on the floor it’s going to run you upwards of $750, with a few seats on the baseline priced around $2,000.
All of a sudden trusting the process ain’t cheap. What’s more, it’s not just that the tickets for tonight’s opener are expensive — it makes sense, given it’s the first time Philly fans get to see Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz play in a regular season game at home together — but tickets for the entire season are going to be hard to get.
The Sixers broke a team record for season tickets this year, announcing in June they had already sold 14,000 for 2016-17. The arena holds roughly 19,500 for basketball games, which means that more than 71 percent of the building will be full of season ticket holders every night they play. That, or StubHub is going to be rolling in overpriced mark-ups.
Have you noticed the Sixers are sporting that small StubHub logo on their jerseys this year? The one-time aftermarket ticket reseller turned official partner of the Sixers has been handling all ticket sales (and resales) for two seasons. This year, they have the sponsorship adorned on their chest, so, naturally, there will be tickets available for every game, it’s just a matter of whose tickets they are and how much you want to pay.
As we wrote last year, the Sixers are white-labelling resold tickets through StubHub, meaning you can’t tell which tickets are being sold at face value and which are being marked up on the secondary market. The team itself has a floating ticket price too, depending on the game and demand. So if there were still team-issued tickets available for tonight, they’ll be more expensive than, say, Wednesday, November 1 against the Hawks, where you can still get tickets for about $14. But as that game nears and seats get gobbled up, the remaining availability will increase in price, even by the minute.
The Sixers expect the entire season to be sold out at home, but that doesn’t mean every seat will always be full. That said, with a roster full of talent that fans have been waiting years to see play together, it’s expected that home games will once again be one of the hottest tickets in town.
It hasn’t been this way for quite some time. Last season the Sixers sold about 10,000 season tickets, many before Simmons went down with an injured ankle in preseason that kept him out all year. Overall attendance last season averaged 17,330, which ranked 22nd in the NBA.
The year before last the Sixers averaged 14,881 at home, 28th in the league. The year before that, they had just 13,940 in the gym, worst in the league, with the bottom coming in 2014, when they had 13,869 per home game, second worst out of the 30 teams.
Fans have certainly come back, as this season they have more season ticket holders than average fans just four years ago. And for tonight’s game, there aren’t even a lot of secondary tickets available.
As of late this morning, just 1,402 tickets were available through the Sixers’ official StubHub sales portal. There were just 10 seats for sale in the suites, with 116 available on the club box level. Courtside — the most expensive seats by far — had 112 seats available, while the lower bowl had 630 open to snag. The upper deck, ranging from $50 to just over $100 in some areas, had 534 available.
Of course you could always go down to the arena and try to get a scalped ticket. But chances are the guys in the parking lot hawking tickets are actually StubHub reps who’ll email you tix just as soon as you give them a credit card or PayPal them for two on the floor. Trust the process…ing fees!