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How to Buy Tickets for an NBA Game in New York

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

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

12 min read

How to Buy Tickets for an NBA Game in New York

Inside Madison Square Garden | ©NBA

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

1. What NBA games can I watch in New York?

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

The New York Knicks play at the legendary Madison Square Garden, located in midtown Manhattan. The team was founded in 1946 and is the longest-running team. Although they have only won two titles (the last one in... 1972!), they are the most famous team in the NBA. Plus, it is a joy to watch superstars like Julius Randle or Derrick Rose play live.

Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets changed courts a few years ago and now play at the modern Barclays Center in Brooklyn. James Harden and Kevin Durant are the stars of their roster.

Book your NBA tickets

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

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

After COVID, it is no longer possible to buy tickets at the box office, although they are still open to pick up some corporate tickets or season ticket holders who have season passes.

NBA tickets.

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

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

The price varies depending on the teams facing each other, but the average price is approximately $ 176 per ticket for both the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets. The minimum price is usually $ 58 for a low-stakes game and a seat away from the court. The maximum price is well over $ 1,200 for a courtside seat.

Something very important is that ticket prices change every day, 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 covered, the price will go down.

The price also fluctuates throughout the season. The games played by the Knicks at Christmas 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.

4. How to save when buying NBA tickets in New York?

To save when buying NBA tickets when traveling to New York it is important to keep in mind that ticket prices are constantly changing. That is, ** everyday 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 skyrocket in price, since demand is always high. With this in mind, there are a few things you can do to save.

Buy tickets in advance

The most important one 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 hotel.

If there are still more than two months to go before the game, ticket prices will have changed, but will not yet have experienced a large increase.

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 (like 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 ones, but if you're all about the experience and have some flexibility with dates you can save by attending a less attractive game.

Choose the seat behind the basket.

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

5. How much does a New York Knicks ticket cost?

A New York Knicks ticket has an average cost of $ 148 per ticket. The minimum price is $ 60 if it is an unimportant game towards the end of the season.

The most expensive time of the regular season (before playoffs) to go to see the Knicks is at Christmas, as this is when there is the highest demand. If they qualify for the playoffs, the average price ranges from $ 240 for the first round to an estimated $ 1,200 if they make it to the NBA Finals.

New York Knicks Tickets

6. How much does a Brooklyn Nets ticket cost?

A Brooklyn Nets ticket has an average price of $ 200 per ticket. The minimum price is $ 65, 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 $ 265 in the first round and is estimated to cost about $ 1,000 if they go all the way to the NBA Finals.

Brooklyn Nets Tickets

7. How to avoid fake NBA tickets in New York?

The only way to avoid fake tickets is to buy from official sites, such as Hellotickets. There are websites of companies that sell unauthorized resale tickets. Not all their tickets are sketchy, but there is the possibility that they are duplicated and, although later they return 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 fans and discreetly ask if anyone is looking for tickets. These tickets are always fake. Their modus operandi is to take you to a secluded place to collect the tickets in cash. When you are denied access at the door, they will have disappeared with your money.

8. What are the best seats in each stadium?

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 soccer stadium, they are huge venues for how small the arena 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 the sections between 1 and 12. In the corners or behind the basket (sections 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, and 9) you get to experience the game up close and although you don't get a good view of the game, the experience is fantastic. The 100 sections are also highly valued because it is where you can best enjoy basketball and still be 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 relationship between price and how the game is viewed are 3, 13, 19, and 29. One of the last rows in these sections is preferable to one of the first rows in the 200 sections.

9. How many NBA games are there in New York?

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

10. Can I go see an NBA game at Christmas?

Yes, in fact, it is 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 their city during Christmas, so it is almost certain that during the trip there will be at least one game.

11. Can I go see an NBA game in the summer?

The New York Yankees, the summer alternative to the NBA | ©YESNetwork
The New York Yankees, the summer alternative to the NBA | ©YESNetwork

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

If you are traveling 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 play a ton of games, so it's easy to catch one of them.

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

Alternatively, if you travel at the end of August or in September, the soccer season will have already started. New York is home to the New York Giants and New York Jets. There are few games but you can check if any date fits you in this link for the Giants tickets and in this one for the Jets tickets.

12. How long is the NBA season?

Knicks game at Madison Square Garden
Knicks game at Madison Square Garden

The preseason (early October).

NBA teams typically play between five and 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 the quality of the games is indeed lower, as teams are not yet in full swing and often reserve their stars.

NBA regular season (mid-October - early April)

In these months each team plays 82 games, one every other day. During the regular season, there are several dates that, because they are pivotal games, you will have to mark on your calendar:

  • December 25 (Christmas). A very special day when the NBA usually plans the best matchups.
  • 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 lot of people 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 Game). The All-Star game where the best players from each team in the league gather 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 begin the title playoffs: 8 teams from the eastern conference and 8 teams from the western conference will face each other.

The Playoff 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 in the end, only the two conference winners are left to fight in the finals for the NBA title.

Last season, both the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets made it to 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 once again. These games are, without a doubt, 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, besides the Superbowl, the sporting event of the year in the United States.

13. When to travel to New York to enjoy the NBA?

The Barclays Center, the Nets' home stadium in Brooklyn | ©Hellotickets
The Barclays Center, the Nets' home stadium in Brooklyn | ©Hellotickets

Knowing all of the above, if you travel to the city before the regular season starts, that is during the preseason, I advise you to take a look at the teams' preseason schedule because they usually play friendly games in early October.

But the NBA games that will take place in New York are only assured between October to 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.

14. Do children pay admission to the NBA?

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

As for the Brooklyn Nets, according to the Barclays Center arena for all sporting events, children up to 34" inches tall, can access 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 going to the stadium with children under the age of two, bring proof of the children's age with you in case you are asked for it at the entrance. Valid forms of identification are a birth certificate or passport.

15. On the day of the game

Moments before kickoff, during the anthem
Moments before kickoff, during the anthem

When to go to the stadium?

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

Madison Square Garden is in the heart of Manhattan so you can walk there if you are walking around after seeing another nearby tourist attraction. On the other hand, to get to the Barclays Center you will need a little more time if you take public transportation, so be aware of traffic or rush hour so that you can get to the stadium without rushing.

On the day of the game, I advise you to go at least one hour in advance to go calmly, go through the security arch, locate the seats, experience the atmosphere before the game with the music and dances of the cheerleaders, listen to the national anthem before the game starts and watch the players enter the field.

Are backpacks and cameras allowed in the stadium?

Following Madison Square Garden policy, backpacks and unnecessary bags are discouraged. 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 having hard sides will not be allowed in. Neither will professional camera equipment, audio and/or video recording devices, or selfie sticks and tripods.

Where to eat before or after the game?

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

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

16. Interesting information to watch the NBA

outside Madison Square Garden
outside Madison Square Garden

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 breaks and halftime most games usually last 2 hours or more. After the first two quarters, there's a 15-minute halftime where you can take advantage of it 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 the hotel where you are staying and open your tickets there so that they are ready on your cell 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.