If you happen to fall in the small demographic intersection between folks who follow D.C. basketball religiously and those that have thousands of dollars of discretionary income to spend on sports, then you’re probably already one of the reported record breaking number of Wizards season ticket holders.
If you merely love this basketball team, but have about five hundred other bills that take priority over buying basketball tickets, then you have to be more selective about which games you choose to attend in person. Fortunately, by using the resale markets and choosing games wisely, a saavy Wizards supporter can attend enough good games to satisfy any basketball fan for a fraction of the price of season tickets. In that vein, I’ve compiled a list of the best home games from a cost vs. entertainment value standpoint.
The list is obviously going to be very subjective, but I did impose some limitations and assumptions when making these selections:
- Who the Hell legitimately has the time to attend 41 home games? Ten is a far more practical number of games to attend, so we’re going to pick the best possible slate of ten games.
- We’re going to assume that we’ll be buying two tickets in the lower level sections behind the basket, which in my opinion offer the best value in the arena.
- Since we’re picking a quarter of the games, we’ll limit our budget to 1/4 of the season ticket holder price. Two tickets in thr LL end sections go for about $4,200, so we’ll pick the 10 best games you could attend for $1,050.
- The prices quoted are based off the prices found on NBA Ticket Exchange for two tickets in the LL end sections for the same game or a comparable game from last season (cataloged in this previous post.)
- The selection of games will be picked to distribute the game dates across the NBA calendar, include a mix of weekend and weeknight games, and feature a range of NBA teams.
- This list is factually correct and beyond question.
And without further ado, here’s a look at Top 10 games for value, in order of where they are on the calendar:
vs. Philadelphia 76ers; Wednesday 10/18 $70:
Of course you have to go to the home opener! The first starting lineup introductions of the year are going to be lit, there will be free t-shirts for all in attendance (and a bunch of extras for those who linger around afterwards), the players are going to show out, and above all, basketball is back!
The Sixers are an fun matchup for the first game too. They have a talented, young squad that will be looking to establish themselves as Wizards rivals over the next couple years. We’ll see if John, Brad, and Otto can continue to son them for the time being.
Extra value points for this game if the team decides to start it with the first division champion banner-raising ceremony in who knows how long.
vs Phoenix Suns; Wednesday 11/1 $40
The fact that this is one of the cheapest games on the calendar makes it a hard one to say no to. The attraction of seeing one of the most talented up-and-coming scorers in the league, Devin Booker of last seasons 70 point outburst, makes it even more appealing. Then there’s the duel between John and his former Kentucky backcourt-mate Eric Bledsoe.
But what really earns this game a spot in this list is that it serves as this year’s Halloween game. Grab your favorite Gandalf, or Harry Potter, or generic wizard costume and head out to the arena. There’s nothing better than the innocent fun of cheering for the Wizards dressed as an actual wizard.
vs Cleveland Cavaliers; Sunday 12/17 $250
Since this is a list of the most price-effective games, it might seem odd to have one game that eats up a quarter of our allotted budget. Well, if you’re going to drop big bucks on a game, this is the one to do it on.
Last year’s contest between these two teams was perhaps the regular season game of the year, and it should be great again this season. This game will still be much cheaper than the Warriors game, and it will in all likelihood be the last time we have a regular season game against Lebron in a Cleveland jersey. $250 seems expensive in the context of this list, but it’ll be a bargain compared to price of seeing Lebron next year when he’s on the Lakers.
vs New Orleans Pelicans; Tuesday 12/19 $70
Is #DC2DC the next Twitter movement in Washington? If so (hint: it is), this reunion of John Wall and his BFF from Kentucky, Demarcus Cousins, should prove to be quite a compelling game.
And don’t forget Anthony Davis. Anytime you can see a top-10 talent for bottom-barrel prices, you take it.
vs. Milwaukee Bucks; Monday 1/15 $65
It seems that every year, the NBA schedulers give the Wizards a game on MLK Day. I’m certainly not complaining because I go to this game every year. There’s something about using your day off from work to watch professional athletes from different races, nations, and creeds play a game of basketball that feels like an oddly appropriate way to honor King’s legacy. If it’s not too cold, you can go down to the MLK and/or Lincoln Memorial after the game.
Also, the same thing I said for AD goes for the Greek Freak, Giannis: you don’t pass up opportunities to watch top-10 talent for bargain prices.
vs Oklahoma City Thunder; Tuesday 1/30 $150
There isn’t any price undervaluing, tie-in holiday, promotional giveaway, or extracurricular storylines associated with this game; it’s just going to be one of the most entertaining contests of the year. Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook is a highlight reel all on his own, and there’s no doubt that he and John Wall will really go at each other. With the addition of PG13 to the mix, you can expect even more fireworks in this increasingly star-studded clash.
vs Charlotte Hornets; Friday 2/23 or Saturday 3/31 $60
If you look closely at this list, you’ll notice that most of the games here are on weeknights. That’s simply because you get much better prices during the week when it’s harder for STHs to get over to the arena after work. Weekday games are still great fun, but sometimes you want to catch the Wiz on a night where you have that extra beer or go out after the game without having to worry about getting up for work the next morning.
The two tilts against the Hornets are weekend games that offer a good compromise between price and basketball quality. It’s always fun to beat Michael Jordan’s team, Kemba is an All-Star in his own right, and now you can watch Dwight Howard ruin the locker chemistry of yet another squad. Go to the February game if you anticipate you’ll be dying for competitive sports in the weeks after football officially ends. If you want to attend a Saturday game so you can pre-game and get wild, pick the March date.
vs Toronto Raptors; Friday 3/2 $120
The Raptors get overlooked and taken for granted because they seemingly get swept out of a playoff round every year. However, they’re still a fun team to watch and they routinely engage in entertaining regular season battles with the Wizards. Plus, this game could very easily turn out to be a preview of a first or second playoff series. Remind any Raptors fans sitting around you how we swept them out of the 2014 postseason, and make sure that all night you yell, “I was running through the Six with my Wiz!”
The Friday night slot gives this game a boost in the rankings (sadly, the weekend-night schedule is pretty weak this year – this is the best weekend-night game on the schedule after the New Year).
vs Minnesota Timberwolves; Tuesday 3/13 $90
Every year the general basketball-watching public is a little slower than more educated fans in grasping which way different teams are trending. This sometimes results in lower demand and cheaper tickets to games that should be highly anticipated. The year the Warriors won their first title, tickets to Wiz-Warriors were near the mean price for all games that season. A year later they were more expensive than any other game. This year that rule applies to the Timberwolves.
The T-Wolves are far from one of the first teams that come to mind when brainstorming marquee Wizards opponents, but the squad has All-Pro level talent. Karl Anthony-Towns is quickly developing into one of the best big men in the game and the explosive Andrew Wiggins is as likely to put a defender on a poster as anyone else in the league. Add Jimmy Butler and some key role players to that combination, and you have a team capable of making some noise in the Western Conference playoffs.
vs Boston Celtics; Tuesday 4/10 $190
This game is huge for many reasons: the continuation of the Wiz-Celtics rivalry, the fight for playoff positioning, John and Kyrie making final statements for their All-Pro cases, a potential playoff preview, etc. The atmosphere for this one is going to be equivalent to a playoff game, so practice your postseason cheers and heckles and start figuring out how many playoff games you can afford to go to with the money you saved on season tickets.
Final Tally: The final price tag is $1,070 for these ten great games. That’s more or less the season ticket holder rate, but with more flexibility and far less commitment. Looking at those numbers it’s hard to be too worried about not being able to afford membership to the DC12 Club.