Before the 2013 NBA playoffs, many people speculated that the Miami Heat would go 16-0 (e.g. sweep every series) en route to their 2nd straight title. As I watched the Miami Heat trounce the Indiana Pacers in game 7 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, it seemed apparent that they definitely had the capability to do so. I then thought of what is most certainly a ridiculous but nevertheless interesting idea. What if the Heat players were instructed to lose in order to have more home games, e.g. increase revenue. (This is not my question, so please don't answer that!)

I agree, there's no way a group of professional athletes would even risk such a thing, but it got me wondering, how much revenue does a team make for a playoff game? I know it's driven largely by ticket cost and arena size, but is there any per-team data available?

(FWIW: This article paints Heat owner Micky Arison in a pretty selfish light, so perhaps my conspiracy theory isn't far off ;) )

  • 1
    not to fuel the conspiracy theory, but game 7s also get incredible TV ratings (in all sports)
    – wax eagle
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 16:28
  • @waxeagle you make a great point. In fact, I think revenue from TV deals might even surpass that of net ticket revenue.
    – Devin
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 15:58
  • 2
    it's possible that for the playoffs this is true. However typically the TV deals are static amounts and not dependent on the number of games. So it benefits ESPN/TNT/ABC but not the NBA directly for them to have more playoff games.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


On ticket sales alone in 2012-13 the Heat made 1.44 million per game. That said, the average NBA fan spends something like and additional $25 (the numbers for cost I see seem to indicate that it's tickets for 4 + ~$100 which then divided 4 ways gives us $25). The Heat regularly sell out regular season games and I'm sure they fill to capacity for these playoff games. The max capacity for their arena is listed at 19,600. Which puts combined concessions and parking at around half a million dollars per game.

That means their revenue including concessions and parking comes in at least 2 million dollars per game (this is low considering they raise average ticket prices for playoff games).

This suggests that by playing 2 extra home playoff games the heat brought in an additional 4 million dollars in revenue.

However, this doesn't necessarily directly benefit the Heat. They are subject to a revenue sharing agreement with the league and as much as 30% of their profits may be shared.

  • However, revenue varies wildly between teams based on ticket and concession prices and also significantly on arena capacity.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 19:30

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