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NBA Teams Market Size Rank and Home Game Median Ticket Price

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A table and a graph and more questions than answers

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

I received an e-mail today from the good people over at VividSeats.com. Adam Clemence number-crunched something pretty insane. The Utah Jazz have a median ticket price for their remaining home games that is only $89 dollars. However, things were really screwy about the home game next week against the Golden State Warriors. The Dubs are the reigning NBA Champions and having a historically significant season. But the ticket prices for that game? The median ticket for that game is a whopping $338 bucks. That's almost three times as expensive. And while that information is interesting, it took me down a darker path. How do these ticket prices stack up? Are the Jazz tickets cheaper or more expensive than the rest of the NBA? Are they more expensive than they should be? And really, what determines how expensive a ticket should be anyway? I figure it's a combination of four major factors: franchise prestige, market size, quality of team, and entertainment value (vis a vis star power). But those are the factors that I think matter . . . not that there seems to be any logic behind it if you check out this post by Amy over at VividSeats.com that ranks the remaining median ticket values per home game for each franchise.

Knowing me, I had to go deeper. I had to check out one of these variables, market size. (Data collected from Wiki and also this site that seems to have somewhat updated info ... only a year old.) When you look at market size against the ticket prices for the remaining games you get an interesting graph. (N.B. Old logos used for the LAC and CHA because I don't care about either of them.)

2015 2016 Team Median Ticket Price vs Market Size Rank

The Jazz, along with the Spurs, Thunder, and Trail Blazers are all small market teams that have their median remaining ticket price "above the curve." That means it's not a deal when looked at against the rest of the NBA. The Spurs and Thunder are Championship contenders with lots of stars and future Hall of Famers on the roster -- Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and generational talent Enes Kanter. Portland could be a 1st round upset of whatever team they play with how well All-Star snub Damian Lillard plays. Utah? Utah's tickets appear to be more expensive than necessary -- but how much of that is the 3x price gouging for the #GSWatUTA home game? I don't know. But what I do know is that our tickets are valued higher than that of DAL, CLE, BOS, ATL, and others -- all are larger market teams with at least one All-Star, and are in the playoffs..

And if you want all the data, win percentage, home win percentage, market size rank (more than just 30 media markets in North America, btw), and median remaining home ticket price you get the following:

Team W L % W L Home % Market Size Median Tix
1 Warriors 62 7 89.86% 32 0 100.00% 7 $362.00
2 Spurs 59 10 85.51% 35 0 100.00% 34 $179.00
3 Cavaliers 49 20 71.01% 28 6 82.35% 20 $80.00
4 Raptors 48 21 69.57% 28 8 77.78% 6 $89.00
5 Thunder 48 22 68.57% 27 9 75.00% 45 $202.00
6 Clippers 43 26 62.32% 22 12 64.71% 2 $109.00
7 Hawks 41 29 58.57% 23 12 65.71% 10 $69.00
8 Heat 40 29 57.97% 23 13 63.89% 17 $99.00
9 Celtics 40 30 57.14% 23 12 65.71% 8 $75.00
10 Grizzlies 40 30 57.14% 25 11 69.44% 51 $46.00
11 Hornets 39 30 56.52% 26 11 70.27% 25 $68.00
12 Pacers 36 33 52.17% 20 13 60.61% 28 $56.00
13 Bulls 35 33 51.47% 23 12 65.71% 3 $133.00
14 Pistons 36 34 51.43% 21 12 63.64% 13 $57.00
15 Trail Blazers 36 35 50.70% 21 12 63.64% 24 $125.00
16 Mavericks 35 35 50.00% 20 17 54.05% 5 $84.00
17 Rockets 35 35 50.00% 19 15 55.88% 11 $90.00
18 Wizards 34 35 49.28% 19 17 52.78% 9 $47.00
19 Jazz 34 36 48.57% 22 13 62.86% 35 $89.00
20 Bucks 30 40 42.86% 21 14 60.00% 36 $61.00
21 Magic 29 40 42.03% 18 17 51.43% 19 $60.00
22 Nuggets 29 41 41.43% 16 19 45.71% 18 $109.00
23 Knicks 28 43 39.44% 16 19 45.71% 1 $175.00
24 Kings 27 42 39.13% 14 20 41.18% 21 $90.00
25 Pelicans 26 43 37.68% 18 16 52.94% 52 $41.00
26 Timberwolves 22 47 31.88% 11 22 33.33% 16 $45.00
27 Nets 19 50 27.54% 12 23 34.29% 1 $103.00
28 Suns 19 50 27.54% 12 22 35.29% 12 $53.00
29 Lakers 14 55 20.29% 9 25 26.47% 2 $630.00
30 76ers 9 61 12.86% 6 30 16.67% 4 $41.00

For us Jazzfans, well, the Jazz are the 19th best team by overall win%, the 15th best team by home win%, the 26th best team by market size ordinal rank, and have the 14th most expensive tickets, tied with TOR and more than DAL. What is your takeaway from this info? Does it help explain all the empty seats at home games? (Remember when our home crowds were terrifying? Road teams are only really startled in the Aunt Viv if they are agoraphobics.) (#HotTake)

Is Market size a major factor in determining ticket prices, or are the other factors (winning, prestige, stars) more important?