If there’s anything NBA fans are more excited about than Old St. Nick, it’s LeBron James’ first regular season game as a Los Angeles Laker against the Warriors. They’re so excited, in fact, that the game is trending as the most expensive Christmas Day game in NBA history on the secondary market, according to TicketIQ.com.
Demand has pushed the average asking price to $1,292, ahead of the 2015 Warriors-Cavaliers game, which settled at $1,011. Those are the only two games since 2011, when TicketIQ.com began tracking data, to break the $1,000 barrier. The third most expensive game was the 2017 Warriors-Cavaliers game, which had an average asking price of $818.
Of this year’s five Dec. 25 games, the only other one to crack the Top 10 in terms of price during the last decade is the 76ers-Celtics game, which has a current average asking price of $459. The cheapest Christmas Day game since 2011 was the 2011 Clippers-Warriors game, which had an average asking price of $98. If demand doesn’t improve this year, the Blazers-Jazz game, which has a current average asking price of $124, will be the third cheapest of the decade. The 2013 Warriors-Clippers game is the second cheapest, at $117.
Overall, this year’s average asking price across all five Christmas Day games of $514.54 is the highest of the decade. No. 2 was $493.69 in 2015, followed by $400.54 last year. The cheapest year to see an NBA game on Dec. 25 was 2013, when the average was $250.13.
The NBA on Christmas Day dates to 1947, and often features a rematch of the NBA Finals. There are no fixed participants, and the slate generally includes some of the top teams. The only year without Christmas Day games since 1947 was 1998, during the lockout.
The Knicks hold the distinction of having played the most amount of Christmas Day games at 52, as well as having the most wins (22) and most losses (30). They’ll play again this year, when they host the Milwaukee Bucks.
Below is a look at how all five Christmas Day games are shaping up:
- Where: Oracle Arena
- Average asking price: $1,292
- Get-in price: $280
The most expensive Christmas Day game since TicketIQ.com began tracking data in 2011, this game marks the first of four times the Lakers and Warriors will play this season, and it will be LeBron James’ first game against nemesis Golden State since joining the Lakers in the offseason.The next three games are Jan. 21 at Los Angeles, Feb. 2 at Golden State, and Apr. 4 at Los Angeles. The teams have not met on Christmas Day this decade, and neither has a winning record on Christmas Day. Historically, the Warriors are 12-15 on Dec. 25, and the Lakers are 21-22. Both teams played on Christmas in 2017, with the Warriors beating Cleveland, 99-92, and the Lakers losing to Minnesota, 121-104.
- Where: TD Garden
- Average asking price: $459
- Get-in price: $117
This rivalry game pits two of the top five teams in the Eastern Conference, and is the first time this decade the teams have played on Christmas Day. Both the 76ers and Celtics played on Christmas Day last year, with Philadelphia beating the Knicks and Boston losing to the Wizards. The Celtics have played four times on Christmas Day since 2011, when TicketIQ.com began tracking data, and are hosting for the second consecutive season. This game has the second highest average asking price for a Christmas Day game on the secondary market, according to TicketIQ.com, and is the priciest of two (2018, 2017) played at TD Garden. Last year’s Christmas Day game had a final average asking price of $194.
- Where: Madison Square Garden
- Average asking price: $441
- Get-in price: $185
The Knicks have played on Christmas Day for seven of the last eight seasons, and this game marks the sixth time MSG has hosted. This game is the fourth most expensive of the Knicks’ Dec. 25 games at MSG since 2011. The priciest was in 2011, when fans paid an average of $515 to see the Knicks host the Celtics. The next two most expensive were $469 in 2017 vs. Philadelphia and $461 in 2016 vs. the Celtics. The Bucks have played only four games on Christmas Day, the last a 131-122 victory at Kansas City in 1977. The $441 average asking price is the third highest on the secondary market among this year’s games.
- Where: Toyota Center
- Average asking price: $257
- Get-in price: $43
This is a rematch of one of the last year’s Christmas Day games. It’s probably fair to say the Thunder don’t love playing on Christmas – they’re 5-13 in 18 tries, though they did beat the Rockets last year, 112-107. The second cheapest of this year’s Christmas Day games, this marks the second of four meetings between the teams this season. The Thunder won the first game, 98-80, on Nov. 8.
- Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena
- Average asking price: $124
- Get-in price: $38
The cheapest of the five Christmas Day games, this contest pits two teams that haven’t played on Christmas Day recently. Portland’s last appearance was a 109-102 loss to Golden State in 2010, and Utah’s last was a 107-103 victory against Houston in 1997. Portland is 14-3 on Dec. 25, while Utah is 4-2. This game will be second of four meetings between these teams. The first is set for Dec. 21 at Utah, the third for Jan. 21 at Portland, and the fourth for Jan. 30 at Utah.