Do NBA Players Get Free Tickets to Games?
Tickets to pro sporting events are often really expensive. NBA players do have an opportunity to help out their friends and family by giving away free tickets to games.
NBA players often report that they’re inundated with ticket requests from family and friends. Some have even hired staff to help distribute their free tickets. Here are the rules that come with these free tickets.
Complimentary tickets for NBA players
According to the NBA collective bargaining agreement, teams can give their players, coaches, and support staff up to four tickets for home games and two tickets for road games. All of the teams reserve these tickets, which means about 100 tickets for each game are not for sale.
These reserved tickets are in the lower bowl but not on the floor or in a luxury suite. The home team’s tickets are generally near the home team bench, and the away team’s tickets are near the visitors’ bench.
NBA players who’ve been in the league the longest can claim the best seats. Players do often give away their home tickets, but their away tickets aren’t always claimed. Interestingly, players do have to pay taxes on these tickets, since they’re considered a fringe benefit in addition to salary.
The rules for NBA players’ tickets
The free tickets do come with restrictions. Players are not allowed to sell these tickets; if they do, they won’t receive any more in the future. The free tickets can’t be transferred to players on other teams. Also, players can’t accept tickets from other teams.
NBA players can, though, give their tickets to teammates if someone needs more than their regular set of four. If a player doesn’t use or give away his tickets, the home team’s box office can offer those tickets for sale right before the game.
Players can even give their tickets to strangers. The Salt Lake Tribune notes that Thabo Sefolosha, now with the Rockets, gave away tickets on Instagram when he played for the Jazz. He offered his two away tickets in Brooklyn to a winner who followed him, liked the post, and tagged five friends.
Players can buy more tickets as long as they pay the price that season ticket holders are charged for that game. Some players like to purchase more tickets to give away. The Salt Lake Tribune named Dante Exum, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, and Ricky Rubio as buying 30 tickets at home games to donate to nonprofit organizations.
Tickets for former NBA players
The collective bargaining agreement does allow retired NBA players who played for three or more years to buy two tickets to their former team’s home games at box office prices. They do have to request the tickets 48 hours before the game begins.
What NBA tickets are worth
Snagging one of these free tickets can be a big score since many teams’ tickets are very expensive and worth a lot. In the 2019–20 season, the Lakers have the most expensive ones, going for an average price of $473 in the secondary market.
The Golden State Warriors have the second most expensive tickets at $458. All other teams’ tickets are less than $300. The Minnesota Timberwolves have the least expensive tickets at $58.
In 2018, the two most expensive games, according to TicketIQ, were when Steph Curry and the Warriors played LeBron James and the Lakers on Christmas Day and in February. The average secondary market price for these games was $1,768 and $1,378 respectively.
Congratulations to anyone lucky enough to get a free ticket from a player.
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