It’s one of the biggest events in the US sporting calendar, and it will soon be with us. Every NBA season concludes with the playoffs and the chance to see which team from the 16 who have made it this far will be crowned as the season’s champions.
As a sporting event, it’s famous for the many surprise results that it throws up as well as the exciting action that always plays out.
So it’s no big surprise that there are plenty of people who want to get to see the action live and are prepared to travel to do this. If this includes you, here are some essential tips about how to travel to and enjoy a playoff game or two.
The first thing that you’re obviously going to want to do is to get hold of tickets for the game, or games, of your choice. The nature of the playoffs, with each round for each team being the best of seven, means that there are always going to be plenty of games to choose from.
The match-ups aren’t announced until early in April so tickets aren’t available until then. When they do become available the simplest way to get hold of the ones that you want is via one of the many ticket agencies that operate online. But be warned, games featuring the teams with the best NBA playoff odds tend to sell out very quickly indeed.
In terms of ticket prices, these can range considerably depending on the game and where you want to sit with the cheapest ones costing approximately $120 right up to thousands of dollars for the final.
Once you’ve got hold of your tickets, then it’s a question of arranging how you’re going to get to the game.
Because tickets are released quite soon before each game, it’s not always possible to arrange the cheapest travel tickets which generally cost less the further in advance that you book.
So you should not only budget slightly more than you might expect for travel, you should also act quickly to be sure that you can get tickets for the train, plane or bus that you’re planning to catch. If you’re planning to drive, it’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the layout of the city you’re visiting before you get there – even the best GPS can get you quite lost in a new place.
Unless you’re traveling just to see the game and head home straight after, the next part of your trip to consider is always going to be the accommodation. Just like travel options this is likely to fill up quickly so it pays to be quick off the mark if you don’t want to end up paying more than you want.
Even so, you may well find that hotels and Airbnb properties raise their prices when there’s a game in town. So brace yourself to pay a little more than you might normally expect.
It also makes sense to arrange accommodation that’s as close as possible, preferably with walking distance, from the match venue. It’ll make for a far more relaxing pre-and post-match experience than finding yourself on an unknown public transport system or queuing for a long time to get in and out of the parking lot.
Even if you’re a seasoned attendee at basketball matches this might not quite prepare you for what awaits at the playoffs.
As the culmination of the season, with the greatest prize in domestic basketball up for grabs, it stands to reason that tensions and excitement will run high.
So the first thing to do is to prepare yourself for a lot of noise. If you have sensitive eardrums remember to pack a set of earplugs as it can get seriously rowdy.
There’s also likely to be quite a lot of trash-talking. Hopefully this remains friendly between the opposing fans. But it can be quite a shock if you’ve never experienced it before.
Plus, although you may have paid quite a lot of money for your seat, be prepared to spend much of the match out of it. Everyone else around you will be shooting to their feet when the action hots up. If you don’t want to watch their backs instead of the game, you’ll have to as well.
Hot prospects for the playoffs
As to who we might expect to see advance to the final, Boston Celtics definitely lead the field of possibles. They might be second in the Eastern Conference to the Milwaukee Bucks but they’re a team that has shown real grit and resilience all season long. From the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns look like strong contenders, along with the Denver Nuggets.
But, whoever goes on to win the coveted title, we can be sure of one thing. Anyone who sees them in action is in for a real treat and one that will be well worth the price of admission.