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New York NBA Basketball: Tickets and Best Prices

Buying a ticket to an NBA game at Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center will allow you to see the Knicks and Nets live. Are you in?

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

14 min read

New York NBA Basketball: Tickets and Best Prices

Inside Madison Square Garden | ©Christian Reimer

One of the most fascinating spectacles you can attend in the United States is an NBA game. Whether it's because basketball is your passion or because you want to experience the craziness and atmosphere of the sport in New York, it's a unique sensation that you have to experience at least once in your life.

There are two NBA teams in New York, the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets. Both compete from October to April in the regular season and from April to June in the playoffs if they qualify.

New York Knicks tickets: the most popular ones

New York Knicks vs Phoenix Suns at Madison Square Garden| ©James Trosh
New York Knicks vs Phoenix Suns at Madison Square Garden| ©James Trosh

The New York Knicks play at the legendary Madison Square Garden, located in downtown Manhattan. The team was founded in 1946 and is the longest-standing team. Although they have only won two titles (the last one in... 1972!), they are the most famous team in the NBA. And they are finally a joy to watch: last season they made the playoffs and have superstars like power forward Julius Randle and point guard Jalen Brunson.

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Brooklyn Nets tickets: the alternative

Inside the Barclays Center| ©LunchboxLarry
Inside the Barclays Center| ©LunchboxLarry

The Brooklyn Nets recently moved to a new home court and now play at the modern Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They have arguably the best defensive squad in the NBA with Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson as the best players of the season. Although they do not start as favourites, the show is still guaranteed.

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Where to buy tickets to watch the NBA in New York?

Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden| ©Erik Cleves Kristensen
Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden| ©Erik Cleves Kristensen

Tickets for the NBA can only be purchased online, as all tickets are digital. Hellotickets has an agreement with the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets to sell their tickets in Spain.

After the COVID, it is no longer possible to buy tickets at the box office, although they still work to collect some corporate tickets or season ticket holders who have season tickets.

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How much does it cost to watch an NBA game in New York?

Madison Square Garden, home stadium of the New York Knicks| ©Ajay Suresh
Madison Square Garden, home stadium of the New York Knicks| ©Ajay Suresh

The price varies depending on the teams playing each other, but the average price is around €150 per ticket for both the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets. The minimum price is usually €50 for a small game and a seat away from the court. The maximum price is well over €1,000 for a courtside seat.

Importantly, ticket prices change daily, just like the price of a plane ticket. If there is more demand and there are few tickets left, the price is more expensive, while if the demand is not met, the price will go down.

The price also fluctuates throughout the season. The Knicks' Christmas games are the most expensive of the year, as the city fills up with international and American tourists who want to go to Madison. However, towards the end of the regular season (April), they tend to be cheaper because fans of both teams prefer to wait for the playoffs.

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How to save when buying NBA tickets in New York?

Basketball ball from the games.| ©Markus Spiske
Basketball ball from the games.| ©Markus Spiske

To save money when buying NBA tickets when you travel to New York it is important to keep in mind that ticket prices are constantly changing. That is, every day prices go up or down depending on demand just like a plane ticket.

The problem is that the Knicks and Nets have most of the stadium sold out to their season ticket holders before the season starts. Therefore, it is not uncommon for tickets to sell out, so demand is always high. With this in mind, there are a few things you can do to save money.

Buy tickets in advance

The most important thing to save on NBA ticket prices is to buy tickets as far in advance as possible. Knicks and Nets tickets go on sale in mid-August and that's when their prices are lowest for all games of the season. If possible, this is the best time to buy them. This is similar to booking a flight or a hotel.

If there are still more than two months to go before the game, ticket prices will have changed, but will not yet have risen sharply.

The biggest problem is if there are less than two weeks left: in that case, you have no choice but to pay a higher price, as there will be a lot of demand and few tickets available.

Choosing a less attractive opponent

Another essential factor in determining the price of the game is the Knicks' or Nets' opponent. A game against one of the best teams in the league or one of the most famous teams (such as the Lakers) can be up to 3 times more expensive than a game against a lesser team. Obviously the big games are the most in demand, but if you care about the experience and have some flexibility with the dates you can save by attending a less attractive game.

Choose the seat behind the basket

The final savings tip is to choose a seat that offers a good experience but is not overpriced. The price of the seats behind the basket (no matter if you are near or far from the court) are always cheaper than the seats at the side of Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center.

However, the best seats in terms of value for money are those located in the corners. These tickets have a decent viewing angle and the price is significantly cheaper than a ticket in the middle of the side.

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How much does a New York Knicks ticket cost?

Knicks team logo| ©Michael Tipton
Knicks team logo| ©Michael Tipton

A New York Knicks ticket costs on average €148 per ticket. The minimum price is €52 if it is a small game towards the end of the season.

The most expensive time during the regular season (before the playoffs) to go to see the Knicks is at Christmas, as this is when demand is highest. If they qualify for the playoffs, the average price ranges from €200 for the first round to an estimated €1,000 if they make it to the NBA Finals.

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How much do Brooklyn Nets tickets cost?

Brooklyn Nets team logo| ©Michael Tipton
Brooklyn Nets team logo| ©Michael Tipton

A Brooklyn Nets ticket has an average price of 172 € per ticket. The minimum price is €55 if the opponent is unattractive and there is nothing at stake at the end of the regular season, just before the playoffs.

The average cost of a playoff ticket to see the Nets is €225 in the first round and is estimated to cost around €850 if they go all the way to the NBA Finals.

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How to avoid fake NBA tickets in New York?

Halftime of the game| ©Daniel Torres Bonatto
Halftime of the game| ©Daniel Torres Bonatto

The only way to avoid fake tickets is to buy from official websites, such as Hellotickets. There are websites of companies that sell unauthorised resale tickets. Not all of their tickets are a problem, but there is a chance that they will be duplicated and, even if they later refund the money, you will not be able to enter the stadium.

There are also people outside the stadium who offer tickets. They do not do this openly, but pass by the fans and discreetly ask if anyone is looking for tickets. These tickets are always fake. Their method is to take you to a secluded place to collect the tickets in cash. By the time they have blocked you trying to gain access, the tout has disappeared with your money.

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What are the best seats in each stadium?

Inside Madison Square Garden| ©Emmanuel Milou
Inside Madison Square Garden| ©Emmanuel Milou

The NBA game experience will largely depend on the seat you choose when you buy your ticket. Although basketball arenas have less capacity than a football arena, they are huge venues for how small the court is and a ticket in the back rows is really far away from the players.

What are the best seats at Madison Square Garden?

The best seats at Madison Square Garden are in sections 1 through 12. In the corners or behind the basket (sections 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9) you can experience the game up close and although you can't see the game well, the experience is fantastic. The 100 sections are also highly valued because it is where you can best enjoy basketball and they are still close to the court.

What are the best seats at the Barclays Center?

The best seats at the Barclays Center are between sections 1 and 31. The corner sections, which offer a good price/viewing ratio, are 3, 13, 19 and 29. It is preferable to be one of the last rows in these sections than one of the first rows in the 200 sections.

When booking tickets on the Hellotickets website you can view an interactive map and select the seats you are most interested in depending on how close you want to be to the court. You will be able to check the different prices and you will see an image to get an idea of the distance to the court.

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How many NBA games are there in New York?

Barclays Center entrance| ©Reading Tom
Barclays Center entrance| ©Reading Tom

82 NBA games are played in New York from October to April: 41 New York Knicks games and 41 Brooklyn Nets games. If either team qualifies for the playoffs, the number would be higher.

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Can I go to an NBA game at Christmas?

New York Knicks vs Brooklyn Nets| ©Miltiadis Fragkidis
New York Knicks vs Brooklyn Nets| ©Miltiadis Fragkidis

Yes, it is indeed one of the most popular times of the season and the atmosphere is spectacular. The NBA makes sure that all teams, including the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, play several games in your city over Christmas, so it's almost guaranteed that there will be at least one game during your trip.

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Can I go to an NBA game in the summer?

Yankee Stadium in New York City| ©Marco Verch
Yankee Stadium in New York City| ©Marco Verch

Unfortunately not, as the NBA regular season starts in October and ends in April, and the playoffs end in June.

If you are travelling to New York in the summer and want an alternative to the NBA to experience American sports you can go see the New York Yankees or the New York Mets, two baseball teams that are in mid-season in the summer. Baseball teams in NYC play a lot of games, so it's easy to catch one of them. You may not even like baseball, but you're sure to get the typical cap, anthem and hot dog look.

You can buy New York Yankees tickets here and New York Mets tickets here.

Alternatively, if you're travelling in late August or September, the football season will have already started. In New York the New York Giants and the New York Jets are playing. There are only a few games but you can check if a date fits you at this link for Giants tickets and at this link for Jets tickets.

How long is the NBA season?

Inside the Knicks locker room| ©AtlasMasland
Inside the Knicks locker room| ©AtlasMasland

The preseason (early October)

NBA teams typically play five to eight games in the preseason, which usually lasts just over three weeks, to gauge their strength for the start of the league. Buying NBA tickets to watch these games is usually cheaper, although it is true that the quality of the games is lower, as teams are not yet in full training camp and often reserve their stars.

NBA regular season (mid-October - early April)

In these months each team plays 82 games, one every two days. During the regular season there are several dates that you will have to mark in your calendar as they are crucial games:

  • December 25 (Christmas). A very special day when the NBA usually plans the best games.
  • The first game of the year. The first game of the year at both Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center is usually a party. Many New Yorkers and tourists take the opportunity to watch this game.
  • The Knicks VS. Nets. A classic game in New York that usually attracts a large crowd is the "derby" between the two teams of the city. If you are lucky and you happen to be there, don't miss it.
  • February (NBA All-Star). The All-Star game where the best players from each team in the league come together to play an exhibition game.

NBA Playoffs (Mid-April - early June)

After the regular season games are over, the 16 best teams in the NBA start the playoffs for the title: 8 teams from the eastern conference and 8 teams from the western conference will face each other.

The Playoffs are best-of-7 games and before reaching the NBA Finals there are three rounds: quarterfinals, semifinals and conference finals. These playoffs usually last almost two months and at the end only the two conference winners are left to fight for the NBA title in the Finals.

Last season, both the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets qualified for the Playoffs.

NBA Finals (June)

There can only be one winner. With 2 teams still standing out of the 16 that made the Playoffs, the NBA Finals begin, played as a best-of-seven game series once again. These games are undoubtedly the most anticipated and the best of the year as the protagonists are the two best teams in the United States.

But unsurprisingly, tickets for these NBA games are the most expensive of the entire season. And yet they sell out quickly because it is, in addition to the Superbowl, the sporting event of the year in the United States.

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When to travel to New York to enjoy the NBA?

Knicks T-shirts| ©NBA.com
Knicks T-shirts| ©NBA.com

Knowing all of the above, if you are travelling to the city before the regular season starts, i.e. during the pre-season, I advise you to take a look at the teams' pre-season schedule because they usually play friendly games in early October.

But the NBA games that will take place in New York are only guaranteed between the months of October and April. After that, it all depends on whether the New York Knicks or the Brooklyn Nets have qualified for the Playoffs and ultimately the NBA Finals.

Do children pay admission to the NBA?

NBA fans| ©Seth Hoffman
NBA fans| ©Seth Hoffman

The NBA is a very family-friendly spectacle, but when it comes to the question of whether children pay admission, the truth is that it depends on the team. In the case of the New York Knicks, Madison Square Garden's policy says that children who have reached the age of two must have a ticket.

As for the Brooklyn Nets, according to the Barclays Center stadium for all sporting events, children up to 34" inches tall, or 86.36 centimetres, can enter the Barclays Center for free but must share a seat with a ticketed adult who accompanies them. Any child who does not meet this height requirement will require a ticket to enter the stadium and must occupy their ticketed seat only.

If you are attending the stadium with children under the age of two, please bring proof of the children's age with you in case you are asked to do so at the gate. Valid forms of identification are a birth certificate or passport.

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On game day

In the ticket queue inside the stadium| ©David Jones
In the ticket queue inside the stadium| ©David Jones

When to go to the stadium?

NBA days in New York are special. You can feel it in the atmosphere and there is more hustle and bustle on the streets than usual in the Big Apple. My advice is not to arrive too early. Inside the stadium there are fast food, snack and souvenir shops that you can browse while you make time and you don't want to miss the anthem moment.

Madison Square Garden is in the heart of Manhattan so you can walk there if you're walking around the area after seeing another nearby tourist attraction. To get to the Barclays Center, however, you'll need a bit more time if you take public transportation, so be aware of traffic or rush hour so you can get to the stadium without rushing. Here is the New York underground guide.

On the day of the game I advise you to go at least an hour in advance so that you can take it easy, go through the security arch, find your seats, experience the atmosphere before the game with the music and dancing of the cheerleaders, listen to the American anthem before the game starts and watch the players enter the stadium. It's like a movie!

Are backpacks and cameras allowed?

According to Madison Square Garden's policy, backpacks and unnecessary bags are discouraged in the stadium. All will be subject to strict security screening which may delay access to the stadium. In addition, no video cameras, audio recording devices, professional cameras (including telephoto or zoom lenses), selfie sticks or tripods are permitted.

As for the Barclays Center, according to its access policy, backpacks or bags larger than 14 "x14 "x6" or with hard sides will not be permitted. Neither will professional camera equipment, audio and/or video recording devices or selfie sticks and tripods.

Where to eat before or after the match?

Inside the stadium there are many food and drink stalls but the prices are significantly more expensive than outside. For example, a bottle of water can cost around $5, a hot dog around $7 and a soft drink around $6.5.

Since you are not allowed to bring your own food or drink into the stadium, my advice is that before the game, if you are hungry, buy something to eat at one of the restaurants around Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center such as Shake Sack or Five Guys. Or wait until the game is over to go there, celebrate your team's victory and treat yourself.

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Useful information to watch the NBA

Outside Madison Square Garden| ©Jordan Staub
Outside Madison Square Garden| ©Jordan Staub

Although the NBA is one of the most popular sports in the world, last minute questions can always arise.

How long is an NBA game?

Officially it lasts 48 minutes (4 quarters of 12 minutes each), but between timeouts and halftime, most games usually last 2 hours or more. After the first two quarters, there is a 15 minute break where you can take the opportunity to get something to eat or go to the bathroom.

I don't have an internet connection in New York! How do I access the tickets?

If you don't have an internet connection during your trip to New York, you can always use your hotel 's internet connection and open your tickets there so that they are ready on your mobile phone when you arrive at the venue. You can also go to any public establishment such as a coffee shop or restaurant near the stadium, as they have free WiFi.

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