The NBA is not only one of the most popular sports in North America, but it is also a sport with an enduring global appeal. As such fans from all corners of the planet tune in to the courtside action, keep an eye out for the NBA Finals lines and stay up to date with all the latest hoops news.
Whilst television coverage of the NBA is undoubtedly dramatic and engaging, it’s a poor imitation of an actual visit to the stadium to watch your favourite team in action.
If you have tickets for your first NBA game and can’t wait, or you’re sitting on the fence about buying tickets, read on to find out exactly what to expect from your first visit to an NBA game.
Getting into the stadium ahead of the game and getting away quickly after should be two of your biggest considerations. The majority of NBA stadiums have nearby parking available for a fee, but bear in mind, that fee can be quite high.
Your alternatives are to use an App like Your Parking Space or JustPark to find affordable parking within walking distance of the stadium. If that’s not an option though, you might want to think about using public transport.
If you go for this option, you’ll likely avoid getting stuck in traffic congestion before and after the game, just make sure you give yourself plenty of time. That brings us on to our next point…
Getting in Early
The NBA is incredibly popular and as such, almost every stadium you go to for even the most meaningless of games will be full. That means you’re going to have to arrive early to avoid getting stuck in queues or held up at security.
If you’re going to a regular game, aim to arrive at the stadium an hour before the game, which should give you ample time to get through the queues and security and into your seat before the play starts. If you’re going to a game in the Playoffs or the NBA Final, then give yourself an extra 30 minutes.
Food & Drink
It’s a thirsty business navigating those queues and getting to your seat, and you’ll probably work up an appetite too. If you’re super early and at one of the better stadiums in the NBA, you will be able to fulfil your food and drink needs with a substantial restaurant meal.
If you just want something to snack on you will be able to get your hands of hot dogs, pretzels and nachos along with soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Do be aware though, that the prices inside stadiums are incredibly overinflated!
All in all you should be in the stadium for around 2 hours and 15 minutes, that’s factoring in four 12 minute quarters, a 15 minute half-time and multiple timeouts. The half time show is another thing to look out for.
Most stadiums put on special entertainment for stadium going fans. Sometimes that will be a dancer or a singer, or it could be a freestyle basketballer. Or, if you’re at one of the cheesier venues, the halftime entertainment could be a member of the crowd trying to score from the halfway mark to win a cash prize.
During the Game
When you’re watching at home, it’s okay to pull out your phone and check Twitter or wander off to the bathroom during the action. To get the most out of your experience at the stadium, put your phone in your back pocket and leave your bathroom trips to breaks in play.
Don’t forget the main reason for being in the stadium either, you are there to support your team and help push them over the line. Get involved in the chanting and roar your favourite players on, that means getting behind them when the going is tough, not just when things are going well.
On your way in or out of the stadium why not visit the store to pick up your very own souvenir of the day. Whether that be a jersey, a hoodie, t-shirt or foam finger your team’s NBA store will have everything you could imagine.
Just like the food and drink inside the stadium though, be prepared to pay a little more than you would ideally like!