For the past three seasons (2018, 2017, 2016) I’ve conducted an increasingly in-depth analysis to answer what was once a legitimate – though it may now be closer to preposterous – question: Are Washington Wizards season tickets worth the money?
If you watched as much as five minutes of this team trying to play basketball last season, then you’ll recognize this as a pointless question with a painfully obvious and unfortunate answer; i.e. the WizKid equivalent of your girlfriend asking if the dress she’s trying on makes her butt look fat. If you watched more than just a little Wizards basketball – if you follow Bradley Beal’s baby-momma on Instagram, and are upset about Steve and Kara leaving the local telecast, and maybe even publicly identify yourself as a Wizards fan – then it never occurred to you even to ask this question, just as it never occurred to you to waste time pondering something as moronic as whether the franchise might actually be worse off without Ernie Grunfeld.
Still, in the interest of keeping this annual blog series running for another year, and at risk of losing some credibility by proving that some questions really are dumb ones, I’m updating my analysis for the 2019 – 2020 NBA Season.
Answer: No. Duh.
After last year’s unwatchable season, John Wall’s extended absence, and an offseason totally lacking in excitement or creativity, not much more needs to be said about why you shouldn’t shell out thousands of dollars to watch the Wiz lose a bunch of games this year. If you’re in search of a more thorough analysis you can refer back to last year’s post, but the key points are these:
- Even in a good year, season ticket holder (STH) prices are at best only marginally cheaper than individual game prices for most games.
- The only true advantage of buying season tickets is that if you sign up early enough you get discounted playoff tickets. With no playoffs last season (and for that matter, none in the near future), there’s zero incentive for committing to tickets for every game.
- If you’re thinking about buying season tickets to resell for a profit, don’t! You’re going to lose a lot of money.
There are, of course, exceptions to these rules. For example, if you have a ton of disposable income and accrue value from being able to call yourself a “season ticket holder”, then fine, go for it. Likewise, if you truly plan on going to every single home game, then sure, season tickets are probably the cheapest route to do that. And of course, if you can use your company check book to write-off the cost as a business expense, then by all means, please do buy season tickets.
For everyone else, however, forget the DC12 Club and spend your money wisely by cherry-picking the best games and deals off of NBA TicketExchange and SeatGeek (StubHub sucks!). You’ll be glad you did when you have those extra bills in your pocket and can skip that dead-of-winter Charlotte Hornets game free of guilt.
Top Ten Games for Value
For those taking the sage advice above and building out a slate of games to attend, here’s my list of this season’s 10 best Wizards games for your money (prices reflect cost for 2 lower-level tickets on NBA TicketExchange, which compare to $112/game at the STH price). As you’ll see, the end result is an awesome lineup of games for under $1,500, or less than a third of season ticket prices ($4,600) for comparable seats.
Wednesday, October 30 vs. Houston Rockets – $167 (105 Row S) vs. $112 STH price: Home opener, free t-shirt giveaway, an early view of the James Harden and Russel Westbrook experiment – what’s not to like about this game? Bonus: It’s the day before Halloween so you can wear your wizard costume (I’m partial to Gandalf) to the game!
Sunday, November 24 vs. Sacramento Kings – $100 (118 Row M): The Skins season will have been over for months and your fantasy football team will probably be in the dump, so you might as well spend your Sunday evening watching the Wiz take on one of the league’s fun, up-and-coming teams
Thursday, December 5 vs. Philadelphia 76ers – $184 (114 Row T): This is not a bad price to watch a legitimate NBA Championship contender – come early because the Wiz might be blown out by halftime.
Saturday, January 4 vs. Denver Nuggets – $130 (104 Row H): Hopefully your New Year’s hangover will have cleared up in time for you to catch this rising Nuggets team that the ticket prices suggest everyone’s sleeping on.
Monday, January 20 vs. Detroit Pistons – $86 (104 Row H): Is there a better way to honor MLK’s contributions to the world than using your day off to watch professional basketball in the nation’s capital? No, there is not.
Monday, February 3 vs. Golden State Warriors – $218 (115 Row T): After a half-decade of the Warriors bandwagon getting out of hand, you can finally watch Steph Curry at reasonable prices again.
Friday, February 7 vs. Dallas Mavericks – $142 (104 Row H): Doncic and Porzingis; if you know you know.
Monday, February 24 vs. Milwaukee Bucks – $175 (104 Row Q): Giannis, the Greek Freak MVP, Antetokounmpo. ‘Nuff said.
Wednesday, April 1 vs New Orleans Pelicans – $157 (115 Row X): Zion Williamson. Also enough said.
Wednesday, April 15 vs. Indiana Pacers – $103 (118 Row K): With no playoffs this will be the last chance to catch the WizKids for half a year. Come to the game to send the boys off strong and pray to God almighty for lucky ping pong balls and a full recovery for John Wall.