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    2023’s Best And Worst Cities For Basketball Fans

    2023’s Best And Worst Cities For Basketball Fans

    To find the best cities for professional- and college-basketball fans, WalletHub compared more than 290 of the largest cities across 21 key metrics, ranging from the performance level of each city’s NBA and NCAA Division 1 basketball teams to ticket prices to stadium accessibility.

    With the NBA playoffs kicking off on April 15 and the average NBA franchise being worth $2.86 billion, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2023’s Best & Worst Cities for Basketball Fans, as well as expert commentary.

    Best Cities for Basketball Fans

    1. Los Angeles, CA
    2. Boston, MA
    3. San Francisco, CA
    4. Philadelphia, PA
    5. Salt Lake City, UT
    6. Miami, FL
    7. Washington, DC
    8. New York, NY
    9. San Antonio, TX
    10. Atlanta, GA

    Worst Cities for Basketball Fans

    287. Wichita, KS
    288. Austin, TX
    289. Berkeley, CA
    290. Dover, DE
    291. Bethlehem, PA
    292. Commerce, TX
    293. Pocatello, ID
    294. Daytona Beach, FL
    295. Easton, MA
    296. New Britain, CT

    Best vs. Worst

    • Charlotte, North Carolina, has the lowest average ticket price for an NBA game, $32.82, which is 4.3 times less expensive than in San Francisco, the city with the highest at $139.49.
    • The Milwaukee Bucks have the highest performance level among NBA teams, 67.60 percent, which is 2.4 times better than that of the Detroit Pistons, the team with the lowest at 28.71 percent.
    • The Gonzaga Bulldogs have the highest performance level among college basketball teams, 92.77 percent, which is 10.9 times better than that of the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils, the team with the lowest at 8.49 percent.
    • Miami has the highest fan engagement for NBA teams, 43.96, which is 29.9 times higher than in New York, the city with the lowest at 1.47.

    To view the full report and your city’s rank, please click HERE.

    Expert Commentary

    What, in your mind, makes a good basketball fan?

    “I tend to think of two types of fans. First, some fans love their home team. They live in pure joy with big wins and delve through disappointment with major losses. You are not on the team but you very much feel part of the team – from the stands or screaming from the couch! Second, some fans love the game. Such fans may enjoy the offensive and defensive strategies. They may watch the box scores and advanced statistics as they emerge throughout the game. You can watch any game and enjoy the athleticism and competition on the court.”

    Tim Chartier – Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National Museum of Mathematics; Professor, Davidson College

    “I think good basketball fans (like all sports fans) know about the strategy of the game as well as the history of the game. I would also say that a good fan can explain and teach others about basketball. Good fans can articulate their earliest memories of watching and playing basketball. A good basketball fan (and, this is true for all fans) do not promote hate or violence, and s/he can take wins and losses in stride. Finally, I think there is an argument that loyalty is a foundational piece of being a good fan. No matter if your team wins a championship or holds the worst record in the league/conference, a good fan still watches games, follows the team (and players) on social media, and maintains optimism for their ball club.”

    Nikolas R. Webster, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Coastal Carolina University

    Do you have any tips for how basketball fans can enjoy the sport without breaking the bank?

    “Many basketball fans would be surprised at the talent level at NCAA DII and NAIA schools. If a fan wants to introduce their family to quality basketball at a reasonable price, I recommend attending a local NAIA or NCAA Division II game and developing a connection with that local school. Growing up it was much more common to connect with your local small colleges, but I feel the access to so many options to watch games on television now has distracted the die-hard basketball fan. The television access to so many games has caused many of us basketball fans to neglect the opportunities to see good basketball at our local small colleges.”

    Jim Zimmerman, M.S. – Associate Professor, University of Saint Mary

    “Compared to other sports (e.g., golf, hockey, etc.), playing basketball is more affordable and accessible. There are several recreation apps available that can help you find local parks with basketball goals, so the only investment would be the basketball itself. As far as spectating, I always enjoy watching games with friends and family. We take turns hosting watch parties, and we all contribute to food and drink. If you are a huge hoops fan, I would keep an eye out for when the NBA offers specials for NBA League Pass (they also offer a package where you can pay a smaller fee to just access your favorite team’s games).”

    Nikolas R. Webster, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Coastal Carolina University

    What are the biggest challenges facing professional basketball today?

    “I think all professional sports need to be concerned about how social media affects their fan base. Younger fans are not sitting down to watch an entire game on television. How will professional basketball and other pro sports foster those future fans that are heavily connected to social media platforms? Major League Baseball is doing things to make their games move faster, and we will continue to see the NFL and NBA creating initiatives to engage younger fans.”

    Jim Zimmerman, M.S. – Associate Professor, University of Saint Mary

    “I think there are a few challenges to consider if you are pro basketball. The first is the ever-present demand to expand your product. It is a crowded, competitive marketplace. You are always vying for consumers’ attention. So, how do you embrace new technologies/opportunities (e.g., gambling legalization, new social media platforms, etc.) in an attempt to continue to grow your brand, continue to maintain your loyal consumer base, as well as extend to new markets? If I am the NBA (or, any company for that matter), these changes in the larger environment should be viewed as opportunities for some of these strategic goals and objectives rather than obstacles. Another challenge to consider would be accessibility to their product. This is more of an issue with the larger economy, where the price of goods and services is still high (compared to previous years). You never want your product to be priced at a point where consumers cannot afford to consume it…Finally, I would say that professional basketball (and other professional sports) always needs to evaluate what they are doing for their communities. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a two-sided equation: communities can benefit from CSR endeavors (e.g., school supply drives, beach clean-ups, etc.) and the sports organization experiences enhanced reputation and image. So again, if we are an NBA franchise, what are we doing from a CSR perspective that is actually making an impact within our community while also creating connections and experiences for our fans and community members?”

    Nikolas R. Webster, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Coastal Carolina University

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    2023’s Best And Wo…

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