SALT LAKE CITY — Attendance is down this year for the Utah Jazz — and will never reach levels it has in the past regardless of how well they do — but their tickets are a hot item compared to several months ago.
The Jazz have had the NBA's third-largest price increase in the resale marketplace since the beginning of the 2017-18 season, according to resale purchase-price data released by TickPick.
The average for Utah tickets this season is $48.83, which is fifth-lowest in the league, behind New Orleans ($40.74), the Los Angeles Clippers ($42.50), Charlotte ($42.72) and Indiana ($47.93).
That price would be a bargain now, though, considering the average cost for resold Jazz tickets on TickPick was $31.98 for the season-opener compared to an average of $53.63 by the All-Star break. That is an increase of 67.7 percent. Boston, Houston, Miami and Indiana — four teams that have had better-than-expected seasons — are also on the rise. Charlotte, New Orleans, the Clippers, OKC and Brooklyn are decreasing the most, per TickPick.
- Price increase percentage:
- Houston Rockets: 101.48 percent
- Miami Heat: 80.55 percent
- Utah Jazz: 67.7 percent
- Boston Celtics: 64.79 percent
- Indiana Pacers: 41.66 percent
- Price decrease percentage:
- Charlotte Hornets: -48.63 percent
- New Orleans Pelicans: -39.98 percent
- Los Angeles Clippers: -36.95 percent
- Oklahoma City Thunder: -35.5 percent
- Brooklyn Nets: -33.18 percent
"When you go on the type of winning streak that they have and you have a star being born in Donovan Mitchell, that’s going to lead to that increase," said Jack Slingland, TickPick's director of client relations. "Especially," he added, "when you pair that with losing a star in Gordon Hayward. I think a lot of fans were disappointed in that and that kept prices on the lower side at the start of the season."
Slingland anticipates the prices to gradually increase the rest of the year toward the average Jazz home game resale price of $78 — for the six years TickPick has existed.
So far, the Jazz have had the third-best value, according to TickPick's cost-per-wins data. That average is $76 this season (compared to a pricey $166.67 last season). The Clippers ($69.48) and Pelicans ($66.60) have the best cost-per-win average, while fans of the Knicks ($371.88), Lakers ($301.11), Warriors ($249.21), Hawks ($243.09) and Kings ($217.24) have paid a pretty penny in the resale marketplace to see their teams win.
As far as overall attendance goes, the Jazz are en route to posting their worst attendance numbers since the team moved from the quaint Salt Palace (12,616 capacity) to the 19,911-seat Delta Center in 1991. Since then, Utah has only averaged fewer than 19,000 fans in six seasons, according to announced attendance figures. Utah is nearly 2,000 fans a night lower than last year when 19,673 showed up on average to watch Hayward, Rudy Gobert & Co. during their riveting 51-win season Western Conference playoff push.
But here’s the thing: The Jazz will never hit 19,000 fans at a home game again as long as the Delta Center/EnergySolutions Arena/Vivint Smart Home Arena is around. More than 1,600 seats were removed during the $125 million renovation to accommodate comfier seats, more suites and those overview porch sections on the concourse. (Technically, 19,911 seats were removed because the Jazz bought new dark blue cushion seats — most with cup holders — for the building’s massive upgrade.)
Interestingly, the Jazz’s best season-average attendance did not happen when you might guess. Though Utah averaged 19,900 on two separate occasions during the Stockton-to-Malone era (1992-93 and 1997-98), the all-time high happened in 2007-08, the year after Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko helped the Jazz advance to the Western Conference Finals.
The lowest average crowds in the current arena — pick your favorite building name — happened in 2005-06 when 18,686 showed up on average during D-Will’s rookie season.
Only 4,955 fans showed up on average during the Jazz’s inaugural season (1974-75) in New Orleans when the team switched between playing at Municipal Auditorium (7,853 capacity) and Loyola University Fieldhouse (6,500 seats). To New Orleanians’ credit, the top five largest home crowds in franchise history all happened in NOLA — at the Louisiana Superdome. The biggest crowd of 35,077 saw Pete Maravich’s Jazz squad lose to Dr. J’s Philadelphia 76ers 117-114 on Nov. 30, 1977.
The Jazz are 17th in the NBA for per-game attendance average this season (17,723). Chicago (20,624) leads the league in crowd size, while the Hawks (14,006) rank 30th.
Utah Jazz attendance per home game, 2017-18