Heat Fans Get 18% Discount for NBA’s Game 7 After Early Exits

The National Basketball Association Finals will be decided by a Game 7 for the fifth time in the last quarter century, giving fans both a ticket-price discount over the last such event and another opportunity to stay for the entire contest.

Hundreds of Miami Heat fans streamed out of the AmericanAirlines Arena two days ago with their team facing elimination, down by five points with less than 30 seconds to play, only to learn that LeBron James and his teammates forced overtime against the San Antonio Spurs and eventually won 103-100. Those trying to re-enter the building were turned away.

Fans looking to buy back into the arena for tonight’s finale of the best-of-seven series will find secondary market ticket prices that are 18 percent less expensive than the last time the NBA Finals went the distance, when the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in 2010.

“You never give up,” Heat center Chris Bosh told reporters at practice yesterday about Miami fans departing early. “People gave up on us, and they can stay where they are and watch the game at home.”

The average price for a resale ticket to Game 7 is $1,538, 18 percent less than the $1,880 ticket to 2010 Game 7, according to TiqIQ, a secondary market ticket aggregator. The Lakers won that game on their home court.

Average ticket prices have risen $226 in the last day, while the cheapest tickets have dropped to $430 from $600, according to New York-based TiqIQ.

Premium Push

“That says to me that although the floor is dropping the ceiling is rising,” Chris Matcovich, a spokesman for TiqIQ, said in an e-mail. “A lot of that has to do with suites and courtside hitting the market, since owners of those seats feel there is a premium to be made if the right buyer is present.”

The most expensive ticket in the TiqIQ database is a courtside seat listed for $55,000. There’s also a suite for sale at $57,000.

James, the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player whose 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists helped Miami force the seventh game, apologized to Heat fans for bringing them so close to the brink of elimination in Game 6. James hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to draw Miami within two and, after San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard missed one of two free throws, Heat guard Ray Allen knotted the game with five seconds left, hitting another 3-pointer.

“That’s why the game is played all the way to zeros,” James told reporters yesterday. “I just know in my household, my wife was like, ‘Would you please stop doing that to me?’”

Spurs Experience

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili of the Spurs are no strangers to NBA Finals Game 7s, having won one against the Detroit Pistons in 2005. The title came after dropping Game 6 in their own arena.

“We’ve been through a lot,” Duncan, the 2005 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, said yesterday. “We have some young talent here, but they’re going to feed off of what we do, and Tony, Manu and I have been in this position before.”

Tonight marks the 18th Game 7 in NBA history. The last time a road team was the victor was in 1978, when the Washington Bullets topped the Seattle SuperSonics 105-99.

The Heat are looking to successfully defend the league title for the first time since the 2010 Lakers. Miami needed five games last year to knock off the Oklahoma City Thunder, and a year earlier was beaten in six games by the Dallas Mavericks.

“I understand the moment for me,” James said. “I’ve been pretty relaxed throughout the playoffs. I’m going to be antsy. I’m going to be excited. I’m going to have some butterflies. I’ll be nervous. Everything. That’s how I should be. The moment is going to be grand.”

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