Finding basketball tickets is hard. Finding cheap basketball tickets is even tougher. We’ve gone over all of the information that we could find on the subject and have put together a quick cheat sheet so that you can have a better idea of just when the best time to buy tickets for a basketball game is. Read on to find out.

Last Minute

A lot of experts believe that the last minute is the best time to buy basketball tickets for most games. We were a bit skeptical of this because that’s not how it ends up working for big-name concerts, but the facts support this. For your average basketball game, the last minute is best. And because a lot of ticket sites have e-tickets on sale up to the beginning of sports games, you can even test this theory out for yourself. A few weeks before you are planning on going to the game, observe a few other games. Look at ticket prices 24 hours before the game, and then look at prices a few minutes before that same game later on. You will watch prices drop most of the time! Estimates say that this is true for about 80 percent of all games.


Of course, this leaves a huge element of uncertainty in whether or not you will actually get seats. It also is a pretty poor way to go if you are buying four or more tickets as getting seats together becomes almost impossible at this point. Still, for buying a pair of tickets, waiting until the last minute for basketball games, or any other professional sport does seem to be the cheapest point.

Using a mobile or e-ticket for last-minute purchases is a must. Most stadiums are able to scan barcodes from your phone, and this makes life a lot easier. Some sites will require you to have their app on your phone, so make sure you download this long before it is needed. Trust us; this will make life a lot easier than going through their web platform.

It Depends on the Game

It’s important to remember that the above-mentioned advice does not pertain to all situations. Remember how prices only are cheapest at the last minute for about 80 percent of games? What about the other 20 percent?

Think about the bigger events. Are you looking to get tickets to the NBA Finals? Disregard everything you’ve read so far. With a major event like this, ticket prices will be much more likely to fluctuate right before the event itself. With people wanting to get rid of expensive tickets and get anything at all back for them, you might find them cheap, but most likely you will see a higher demand for tickets right before a big game, and thus prices will go up to meet that demand.

You can still find tickets for big games right down to the last minute, but it’s almost impossible to tell what you will pay for them. If you’re looking to save money for a huge game, this is not the time to do so. In fact, for bigger events, you should be more focused just on getting tickets, any tickets. These are highly sought-after items, and just getting enough tickets so that everyone you’re bringing can sit together will be a tough task.

Other Estimates

More in-depth research indicates that ticket prices can drop by as much as 30 percent over time. So if the original price of a ticket is $100, then your best bet will be to aim for $70 per ticket. Of those tickets that do drop in price, other research says that the very last minute is too risky. These people point to the fact that these prices will sometimes drop to their final low points a few days before the game. In this light, you should start looking at tickets about a week before the game occurs. If you notice ticket prices dropping, then you can keep waiting. If they begin to rise a little, then buy. That magic 30 percent savings number is ideal, but saving 20 or 25 percent on prices is still a really big deal. Think of it this way: if you are buying 4 tickets at an original price of $100 each and you save 25 percent—you’ve just kept an extra $100 in your account. Not too shabby.

In this example, you are giving yourself a slightly better chance of saving money by looking at a larger sample of prices. Is it perfect? Nope. But there really isn’t a perfect way to do this. Your goal is to save money, and when it comes to buying basketball tickets online, this is never a guarantee. We’ve just given you the tools that you need to have the best chance of doing so.

Other Things to Consider

A lot of people don’t ever think about inventory, but this plays a huge role in ticket prices. As a general rule, consider the law of supply back from high school economics. The higher the supply, the lower the demand, and thus the lower prices are. When supply is limited, demand goes up, and so do prices. So if there are only a handful of tickets left, prices are likely to be high. But if there are many tickets left, prices will be below. This is the number one factor that you can use to help determine whether prices will go up or down at the last minute when you’re buying basketball tickets online.

The only real way to gauge this factor is to look at a few different ticket sites over a period of time. You will have to keep track of how much inventory is at each, and then make an educated decision from there. The big positive to put in this extra work is that you will also know exactly which site has the cheapest tickets, helping you to drive prices down, even more, .