More than 21 million people attended regular NBA season games during the 2018-2019 season. But many people still haven’t ever been to a game in real life!
If this is you and you’re going to your first game soon, it may seem a little overwhelming. But don’t worry! We’ve put this guide together to help you know what to expect at your first NBA game.
You’ll be totally ready to have a great time.
Check out our tips below!
Show Up Early
The NBA is continuing to grow in popularity across the country. This is especially true for big-market teams, but applies to almost every team.
So it’s best to arrive early so you have time to park, get to the stadium, grab some food, and get to your seats with plenty of time.
We recommend arriving 30-45 minutes early. That way you’re not sitting around forever, but you still have enough time to get situated and not be in a rush.
If you do get to your seats with time to spare, that’s no worry! This will allow you to see the pre-game warmups, which is an exciting behind the scenes moment for any basketball fan!
Parking & Transportation
Every NBA stadium is different when it comes to parking. Some stadiums feature parking garages on site. Others rely on off-site lots for the majority of their parking.
In some cities, you can luck out and find cheap parking on nearby streets. It just depends on where you are! So take a second before the game and check out your team’s website to get the most accurate parking information.
Just be aware that in almost every case, you’re going to have to pay for parking, which can range from $5 to $25 depending on the situation.
Another option is to take public transportation! This can often be cheaper and be less of a hassle than parking. You won’t have to worry about finding a spot and won’t get stuck in after-game traffic.
Lots of cities feature light rail or train style transportation services that will drop you off and pick you up right outside the stadium. Do some research to see if this would work in your city.
Food & Drink: Another First NBA Game Key
Stadium food is another classic part of your first NBA game experience. Whether it’s a hot dog, pretzel, or nachos, you should enjoy your time and consider grabbing one of these options, even if they’re a little overpriced. It’s all part of the experience!
Many arenas now feature other restaurants inside, like Mexican, Italian, or burger places. This is also a great option if you’re in the mood for something more substantial.
Either way, plan on grabbing food at the arena. It’s an essential part of your first NBA game experience!
Overall, a normal regulation game without overtime averages at about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Here’s the breakdown.
You have four quarters, each 12 minutes long. Games also include a halftime of 15 to 18 minutes.
You also have to factor in timeouts. Both teams are allowed up to seven time outs per game, each 75 second long. Since games are televised, there are also two timeouts each quarter that are used for commercial breaks.
What About Souvenirs?
Souvenirs aren’t a must-have during your first NBA game, but they definitely are something to think about!
Whether you want a hoodie, t-shirt, foam finger, or Christmas ornament, the NBA team stores have a wide variety of options. You can honestly find just about anything with your team’s logo inside!
If you want a jersey, they have those too! You can also get these online at the NBA store.
And if you need tickets for the game, check out our wide selection.
Don’t Forget About Halftime
Almost every NBA game features halftime entertainment. Depending on your market and the day, it’s usually someone with an interesting talent. Sometimes it’s a dance group, a dog that can do tricks, or a musical show.
No matter what, try to support these people by staying to watch their show! It’s tempting to go to the hall and grab some food or go to the bathroom for the whole time, but you should really support the halftime acts. They’re trying to make a living just like the NBA players you’re there to watch!
The halftime show doesn’t usually take up the whole halftime period, so you’ll still have time to run to the bathroom if you need to as well.
Put Your Phone Away
In today’s technological world, we almost never go anywhere without our smartphones. And we’re not suggesting you need to leave your phone at home during your first NBA game, but you should definitely put it away.
Leave it in your purse or your pocket so you can really enjoy your experience. You don’t need to post your entire night on Snapchat or Instagram. You also don’t want to waste your night playing games or scrolling your social media feeds.
Instead, immerse yourself in the game environment and you’ll have a much better time! Remember that you don’t get this experience every day and you can be on your phone any time at home.
If you want to take some quick pictures, that’s totally fine. But just put your phone back away after. Your experience will be much better this way.
Now that you’ve read all about what to expect at your first NBA game, you’re prepared! Go and enjoy your experience.
Have questions or want to learn more? Contact our team today.