A who's who of Hollywood has been featured in courtside seats during the 2023 NBA playoffs.
Actors, musicians and athletes have been spotted on the sidelines throughout the postseason to not only see the action up close and personal, but to be seen. Whether it's Jack Nicholson returning to his courtside seats in Los Angeles for the first time in nearly two years or Kendall Jenner and Bad Bunny having a date night, celebrity attendees have become an attraction themselves for viewers.
Travis and Jason Kelce. Kim Kardashian. Floyd Mayweather. Russell Wilson. Michael B. Jordan. Adele. Rob Lowe. Kevin Hart. The list goes on.
That may lead some to wonder: How do stars get front-row seats? We talked to TicketSmarter CEO Jeff Goodman about courtside seats and how many celebrities obtain them. Here's what you need to know:
CELEBRITY ROW: Jack Nicholson returns to courtside for Lakers' playoff game
How much do NBA courtside seats cost?
If you want to see your favorite basketball team play up close and personal, it's going to cost you. There are a number of factors that affect ticket prices, including the level of play, teams competing and location.
Let's start with level of play – sitting courtside at a playoff game is going to be more expensive than a regular season game and attending the conference finals is more expensive than a first-round playoff game. The matchup also matters. Games in arenas in big cities, like Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena and New York's Madison Square Garden, attract more attendees and tend to inflate the price.
Courtside seats to the NBA Finals are the priciest. Courtside tickets to Game 1 of the NBA Finals at Ball Arena in Denver are currently going for $24,605 each on TicketSmarter, as of Wednesday evening. An average ticket to Game 1 costs about $1,500, with prices as low as $624.00 for upper level seats.
Do celebrities pay for NBA courtside tickets?
Yes and no.
There are a variety of ways A-listers can snag courtside seats and some methods don't include opening their wallets. Goodman explained that celebrities can leverage their connections to get tickets through team owners. Sometimes they are invited by ownership groups or league sponsors, but most times, stars pay their way.
"Just because they are celebrities doesn’t mean they are getting free tickets," Goodman said. "In many cases, they are paying just like everybody else if they don’t know someone with the team or with the ownership group."
Are NBA courtside seats worth it?
Courtside seats come with variety of perks that could justify the cost of a ticket to some. Think VIP treatment.
"Most times courtside seating does come with food and alcohol," Goodman said. "Typically there’s a VIP entrance to get into the building, so you don’t have to wait in line and can come in with a complete VIP experience, whether it’s a Crypto.com or Ball Arena. Typically there is a private entrance, you have access to a VIP lounge area. In some cases, you are waited on at your seat."
Is sitting courtside dangerous?
If you consider LeBron James flying into your lap dangerous, then yes.
Fast breaks, transition fouls and diving for loose balls contribute to the high energy of a basketball game, but sitting front row sometimes means the action can spill out onto the sidelines – just ask Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, who literally had their drinks spilled on them following a courtside run-in with Miami's Dwyane Wade in 2019.
Although you always have to be aware of your surroundings while sitting courtside, that's not always a bad thing. Goodman said diehard fans consider it an honor to interact with their favorite players, even if that means they are crashing into you.
"When you talk about courtside, you are right there in the action," Goodman said. "I think sometimes people are excited about the thrill of potentially having a player fall on them. That would actually be a badge of honor for LeBron (James) to come crashing in the stands and land on you."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How much do NBA Finals courtside seats cost? Here's how stars get them